On May 15, the first First Joint European Union (EU)-Cuba Council meeting will take place in Brussels, Belgium to start the process for the EU providing 40 million Euros for projects in Cuba.
The parties will sign their first Financial Agreement to establish the framework for the implementation of a bilateral program in the area of renewable energies for which the EU will contribute up to €18 million (U.S. $ 21.5 million). This will pave the way for a second Financial Agreement later in the year for a program in support of renewable energy and sustainable food security in Cuba, with an EU contribution of €19.65 million (U.S.$ 23.5 million).
These financial accords are the result of the two parties’ Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA), most parts of which have been provisionally applied since last November 1. The PDCA defines general principles and objectives for the relationship between the EU and Cuba and provides the following framework for accompanying the reform process in Cuba:
- “Political dialogue: addressing issues, such as human rights, small arms and disarmament, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, migration, drugs, fight against terrorism, sustainable development, etc.;
- Cooperation and sector policy dialogue: including areas, such as governance, civil society, human rights, social and economic development, environment as well as regional cooperation;
- Trade and trade cooperation: dealing with principles of international trade and covering cooperation on customs, trade facilitation, technical norms and standards, sustainable trade and investment.”
According to the EU, three high-level dialogues already have been held to exchange views on basic principles of human rights, to identify areas to cooperate or share best practices. The two parties also will launch dialogues focused on sustainable development, non-proliferation, arms control, and unilateral measures. The last will include the U.S. embargo on the Island.
The PDCA also provides for the possibility of suspension in the event of a serious violation of human rights commitments.
Ramón Jáuregui, president of the Euro-Latin American Assembly (a transnational non-governmental body of 150 legislators from Europe and Latin America to improve their governments’ relations), said, “Cuba needs an economic opening, it needs cooperation, it needs energy, it needs investments, it needs to improve its GDP to improve the quality of life of Cubans. [The EU] “can be a loyal partner” of Havana with the agreement and “through this opening and this collaboration, [Cuba] will have no choice but to take successive democratic steps.”
Last month Sweden’s Minister of International Cooperation Isabella Lövin, told her Parliament that Cuba’s civil society and democratic movement have a legitimate role in the discussions on the implementation of the Association Agreement and Political Dialogue. 
The 28 EU countries are the main foreign investor in Cuba (mainly in the sectors of tourism or construction), according to the European Commission, which in 2017 had 471 million euros of imports of Cuban goods in 2017 (mostly agricultural products, beverages, tobacco and mineral fuels) 2,094 million euros of EU exports to the island.
The previously mentioned EU-Cuba conference in Belgium will take place the day before Cuba’s Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, Switzerland, and at the latter session Cuba undoubtedly will raise its agreement with the EU for dialogues about human rights.
This EU-Cuba agreement on dialogue about human rights is similar to the human rights dialogues that were conducted by Cuba and the U.S. during the Obama Administration and that apparently are now suspended in the Trump Administration.
It also is interesting that no report about the conference in Belgium was found in the major U.S. newspapers that cover foreign affairs (New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal) or in the major news organizations (Reuters and the Associated Press) for U.S. news organizations.
 EU External Action, EU-Cuba relations, factsheet (May 7, 2018); Nearly 40 million euros for Havana, the first realization of the agreement with the European Union, Diario de Cuba (May 14, 2018); European Union declares to be ready for the First Joint European Union Council-Cuba, Granma (May 13, 2018); Cuban Foreign Minister will begin this Monday tour of Europe, Cubadebate (May 13, 2018). This blog has published posts about Eu-Cuba relations and agreements that are found in the “Cuba and Other Countries” section of List of Posts to dwkcommentaties–Topical: CUBA.
 Sweden admits that the implementation of the EU-Havana agreement must include the Cuban democratic movement, Diario de Cuba (April 27, 2018).
 The contrasting U.S. approaches to Cuba on human rights are covered in many posts in the following sections of List of Posts to dwkcommentaries–Topical: CUBA: “U.S. (Obama) & Cuba (Normalization)– 2014 and 2015 and 2016 and 2017” and “U.S. (Trump) & Cuba, 2016-2017 and 2018.”
2 thoughts on “European Union To Fund 40 Million Euro Projects in Cuba”
I was taken by the last paragraph. It would be interesting to explore why bilateral relations between Cuba and Europe are of no interest in the US, given the big role Cuba plays in US political consciousness. One might also ask why US “allies” do not honor the embargo, and what the point of the embargo is if they do not. In any case, the lack of press reporting on this issue underlines the important service this blog provides.
Another Perspective on Swedish Politician Quoted in Post
The above post quoted Sweden’s Minister of International Cooperation Isabella Lövin as recently telling her Parliament that Cuba’s civil society and democratic movement have a legitimate role in the discussions on the implementation of the Association Agreement and Political Dialogue.
A reader of the blog has suggested the necessity of mentioning the following two articles, which in the judgment of this blogger are irrelevant to the main post.
The names of two young Swedish and Spanish activists have become involved in Cuba’s investigation of last July’s car accident that killed Oswaldo Paya, a well-known Cuban dissident. The young Spaniard, Angel Carromero, who apparently was driving the car, said he suddenly came upon an unpaved stretch of highway, hit the brakes and lost control, causing the car to go off the highway and to hit a tree, killing Paya instantly. The young Swede, Jens Aron Modig, chairman of the youth wing of Sweden’s center-right Christian Democratic Party, was seated in the front passenger seat and was not seriously injured, but said he had come to Cuba with $5,000 for Cuban dissidents, which was used by the Cuban government to argue against the claim that the Cuban government caused the accident to eliminate Paya.
The other item involves Anna Ardin, who was one of two Swedish women whose complaints of rape led to the arrest of Julian Assange in England and who was a supporter of Cuban dissidents. These facts caused some Cuban supporters to claim that Ardin’s link to the Cuban dissidents was evidence of a U.S. plot to smear and jail Assange.
Miroff, Dissident’s Death Stirs A Drama in Cuba, All thing considered (Aug. 22, 2012) https://www.npr.org/2012/08/20/158485480/dissidents-death-stirs-a-drama-in-cuba
Tamayo, Accuser of wikiLeaks’ Assange is linked to Cuban dissidents, Miami Herald (Dec. 8, 2010), http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/special-reports/article24603340.html