Senior EU official in Cuba to boost bilateral ties
Xinhua | 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
“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
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