The agreement was signed by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla and EU Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini.
Significance of the Agreement
• It seeks to normalise ties between the 28-nation European Union and Cuba.
• Under its policy since 1996, the EU declined to continue ties with Cuba due to its poor record on human rights front.
• The agreement facilitates EU’s continuous support for the economic and political modernization efforts in Cuba.
• It also enables greater cooperation between the two entities to face common challenges such as terrorism, climate change, WTO trade negotiations including the Doha Development Agenda, etc.
• Assistance from a powerful trade and economic bloc like EU is necessary for the island nation to save itself from the threat of climate change.
• For the European Union, global cooperation is necessary to tackle the menace of terrorism.
• The political dialogue and cooperation are expected to give a boost to trade ties. At present, the EU is the largest trading partner for Cuba outside the Latin American Region.
• Globally, the European grouping is the 2nd largest trading partner and a significant foreign investor and provider of cooperation funds to Cuba.
• This is the first such a normalisation agreement signed by Cuba after the death of its iconic leader in November 2016.
• During his tenure, Fidel Castro strongly opposed the USA and capitalist countries and maintained the country’s economic system on the socialistic lines.
• The agreement also assumes much significance in the backdrop of Donald Trump’s recent election victory as the President of the USA.
• Trump during his election campaign and even after the election showed his reluctance towards normalization of relations with Cuba.
• Due to the close cooperation and strategic ties between the EU and the USA, it is expected to see how the EU will continue its momentum vis-à-vis its relations with Cuba.