The European Union and Latin American countries held a summit in Brussels on Wednesday (10 June). The block pledged to complete the normalization of relations with Cuba and offered funds for Colombia once peace is achieved. European leaders expressed their commitment to deepening economic relations with 33 nations in Latin America and the Caribbean. The main focus of economic ties between both regions is seen in investment.
European Council President, Donald Tusk, embraced the progress in EU-Cuba talks after a Cuban official said last week that both sides would hold another round of negotiations. “We support the process of modernisation in Cuba and we are committed to concluding negotiations of our political dialogue and cooperation agreement,” Mr Tusk said and added that the EU “welcomes full normalisation of Cuba relations with the United States and the end of the embargo”. While the block is trying to complete the normalization, the United States is also working to restore ties with the communist country.
Brussels and Havana would like to sign a political framework for dialogue and cooperation as part of the negotiations by the end of this year. The talks also include more controversial topics such as political reform and human rights. EU-Cuba relations have been frozen since 2003 when Cuba cracked down on journalists and activists. Both sides resumed the mutual ties only in April last year.
As to Colombia, former Polish Prime Minister Tusk said that the EU would “stand by the efforts of President (Juan Manuel) Santos to achieve a lasting peace in Colombia.” He moreover announced that the block would “set up a trust fund to support post-conflict actions in the country”. Colombia has long been lobbying for a trust fund despite international criticism over recent air strikes on Marxist rebels.