EU Announces New Step to Increase Ties With Cuba

Havana, Jan 31 (Prensa Latina) The European Union (EU) will hold its first joint council with Cuba on February 27 to identify areas of cooperation that will expand economic ties, the regional bloc announced today.

It is about accompanying the political strategy with concrete actions in different areas: trade, investment, renewable energy, agriculture, climate change, technical assistance and promotion of culture, exemplified the Director General of International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission, Stefano Manservisi.

In a press conference, the official stressed that for the first time bilateral relations have a ‘very solid’ institutional framework, after the implementation of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and this Caribbean nation.

He explained that the main reason for his visit to Havana was the organization of a cooperation program on renewable energy, one of the main aspects of shared interests, he pointed out.

The support for the use of renewable sources is not reduced to a financial issue; in this field, Cuba and the EU are ‘strategic allies’, the expert assured when assessing common positions on climate change in international forums, as happened at the United Nations Summit on the topic, held in Paris, France (Cop 21)).

Currently, he pinpointed, more than 90 percent of the energy in Cuba depends on oil and the government set the goal of raising by 2030 the share of green energy in the generation of electricity to 24 percent. The EU wants to contribute to advancing this goal with the participation of European companies in investments, taking into account the Cuban decision to increase the use of biomass and solar and wind energy, he confirmed.

In terms of fighting climate change, he said, the EU plans to strengthen ties with the island in a stable manner, beyond aid in emergency situations such as those caused at the end of 2017 by Hurricane Irma.

Manservisi also stressed the interest of increasing exchanges on the cultural level, for its universal value in dialogue, social integration, peace and the promotion of economic business.

The representative of the EU considered that the economic, financial and commercial blockade of the United States against Cuba is ‘illegal and unfair’ and ‘contrary to European interests’ to expand and diversify relations with the island, including investments.

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