EU commissioner calls for normalising ties with Cuba

May 27th, 2008 - 11:14 pm ICT by admin  

Brussels, May 27 (IANS) The European Commissioner for development and humanitarian aid has called for “normalisation” of relations between the European Union (EU) and Cuba, arguing that European public opinion had “real expectations” on this issue, EFE news agency reported Tuesday. Louis Michel, who participated in a debate in the European Parliament Monday, insisted on the need to call off the sanctions imposed on Cuba in 2003 and suspended two years later if there was a desire to “move ahead in the dialogue”.

The commissioner said he had always opposed sanctions as a matter of “principle”, adding that no examples existed of such measures having a positive effect.

The EU members plan to review policy towards Cuba in June, as they do periodically.

Since 2005, the EU has kept open an offer of two-pronged dialogue with Cuban authorities and the island’s dissidents.

In recent months, leftist groups in the European Parliament have called for an end to the sanctions, a demand the Cuban government has also made.

Michel criticized the fact that the Cuban regime was at times judged more harshly than other countries with worse situations, a statement that was seconded by Spanish centre-right Eurodeputy Ignasi Guardans, who denounced the EU’s “hypocrisy”.

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