Senior EU official in Cuba to boost bilateral ties

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-5-8 16:01:33

A senior European Union (EU) official is in Cuba in an effort to strengthen ties between the 27-nation bloc and the Caribbean island country.

Christian Leffler, managing director of the Americas for the European External Action Service (EEAS), said "there is much to do" but "what is most important is that we are talking and listening, that we talk with Cuba and not about Cuba."

Leffler, speaking Monday night at an official event marking "Europe Day," said the goal of his visit was "to celebrate what unites us and to discuss what separates us."

Despite some differences, Leffler said both sides defend the values they consider universal.

"The past cannot be changed, but we have the power to shape our future. There is political will for that," the envoy said.

The EU's policy towards Havana is governed by the so-called "Common Position," approved in 1996 by EU foreign ministers and designed to encourage a transformation process in Cuba.

Cuba, however, demands full repeal of the "Common Position," saying it forms part of a policy of intervention and is the main obstacle to expanding cooperation.

The "Common Position" can only be changed by a unanimous vote, and EU countries such as the Czech Republic, Sweden, Britain and Germany have refused to curtail the policy until they see changes in the Cuban government.
Posted in: Americas

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