Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The EU opposes publishing its agreement with Havana because it could 'undermine' its process of dialogue with the regime

The EU opposes publishing its agreement with Havana because it could
'undermine' its process of dialogue with the regime
DDC | Madrid | 23 Mayo 2016 - 11:48 am.

The European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU's diplomatic
division, has refused to disclose to the "general public" the contents
of the bilateral treaty signed on March 11 with the regime since, as
indicated in a letter - to which DIARIO DE CUBA has had access -
publishing it now "could undermine the process" and "harm relations
between the EU and Cuba."

The missive, dated 27 April, bears the signature of the head of the
Parliamentary Affairs division of the EEAS, Gabriele Visentin, and is
the answer to a request by Erik Jennische, Director of Latin American
programs for Civil Rights Defenders, after he had requested access to
the document publicly signed in Havana on March 11.

The document in question, "Political dialogue and cooperation agreement
between Cuba and the European Union concluded on 11 March, 2016" is,
according to Visentin, "provisional in nature and part of a negotiation
that is still in progress."

Invoking European regulations, the diplomat insists that the content of
the text may not be published, either partially or totally.

The document was signed by the EEAS's Secretary-General for Economic and
Global Affairs, Christian Leffler, and Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister
Abelardo Moreno.

The document was signed in the presence of the EU's High Representative
for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, and Cuban Foreign Minister
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.

Erik Jennische told DIARIO DE CUBA that he believed that denying access
to the agreement constitutes a violation of the EU's "principle of
transparency." The activist also observed that it is a contradiction to
state that the document is provisional when its negotiating teams signed
it "in the public spotlight."

Jennische expressed regret about the exception that the EU has granted
the regime in Havana, and reported that he has already appealed this
decision. "If the EU signed a similar agreement in a democratic country
in Latin America, there would be no problems publishing the document."

In this case, the activist believes that the regime in Havana is calling
the shots. "Cuba says that it cannot be published, which means that the
Cuban government is deciding what the EU and cannot do, excluding its
own citizens from the debate."

The activist called on EU member governments to publish the text of the
agreement so that it can be discussed by citizens. He also pointed out
that similar texts were signed with Central American countries from 2012
to 2013, following open negotiation processes, including the
participation of human rights organizations at the meetings. "That is
the way to work," said Jennische.

The Cuban case, however, has stood apart. European and Cuban
organizations have been excluded from the process, Jennische said.
"According to them the idea behind ​​the agreement is to create a
rapprochement between peoples, but how is that going to happen if they
refuse to publish its contents?"

In Cuba, Federica Mogerinhi said in March that the agreement makes it
possible to overcome the "common position," although to be enacted it
still needs approval by the European Council. The signed document
proposes to strengthen relations between Havana and the EU, and includes
a section on political dialogue, another on cooperation and sectorial
policies, and a third on trade.

Source: The EU opposes publishing its agreement with Havana because it
could 'undermine' its process of dialogue with the regime | Diario de
Cuba - http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1464000483_22558.html

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