The European Union formally signed an agreement normalizing ties with Cuba on Monday. The so-called Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement covers issues such as trade, human rights and migration, and allows for greater cooperation on climate change, culture and tourism.
Talks on expanded political ties began in 2014, and after seven rounds of talks, a final agreement was reached in March. Previous attempts at a cooperation agreement failed in large part because of the EU’s “common position” on Cuba, which set out the objectives for EU policy in Cuba, namely the transition to a pluralist democracy with respect for human rights in exchange for increased economic cooperation. The EU repealed the common position last week, clearing the way for the new agreement to be signed.
“We are truly at a turning point in the relations between the EU and Cuba,” said EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini at the signing ceremony for the agreement in Brussels. “Together, we are moving towards a closer and more constructive partnership, one that reflects strong historic, economic and cultural ties that unite Europe and Cuba.”