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Study day on Cuba at the European Parliament

2005-06-02 / Max Berre

On June 2nd, ICDC, EPP-ED and ALDE hosted a study day on Cuba held in the European Parliament in Brussels in response to a Council decision to delay revision of the EU's June 2003 measures on Cuba until June 2005. The seminar included a letter from Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá Sardinias, as well as speaches from Vaclav Havel and several MEPs. The seminar concluded with the adoption of the Brussels Declaration calling on the EU to lend greater support to human rights causes in Cuba.

Last November, the European Parliament adopted a resolution by a large majority of its members, asking for the release of all political prisoners in Cuba, the granting of authorisation to Mr Payá Sardińas to travel to Europe and the evidence of significant progress on the island as far as the promotion of democracy and the upholding of human rights and fundamental freedoms are concerned.

The above mentioned premises constituted indispensable elements, according to the Parliament, for a possible modification of the Common Position of the EU on Cuba, as well as of the measures adopted in June 2003.

Nevertheless, the Council of Ministers decided to temporarily suspend, until June 2005, when it would proceed to a new revision of the measures adopted in June 2003.

In order to investigate what has changed in the island during these last months, the European People's Party - European Democrats in the EP in cooperation with the International Committee for Democracy in Cuba organise a study day on the 2nd June, 2005 at the EP building in Brussels.

The Brussels Declaration was adopted at the end of the seminar. It calls on the EU to pay greater attention to human rights issues in Cuba, as well as to support cuban dissidents. The declaration also calls on Cuba to free all of its political prisoners.

The three main topics discussed during the seminar were "Human rights and freedom of expression," "What kind of EU relationship with Cuba?," "And what after Fidel Castro's regime?”.

The speakers included MEPs
• Joăo de Deus Pinheiro, Vice-Chairman of the EPP-ED Group,
• Graham Watson, President of the ALDE Group, Cecilia Malmström, ALDE Group Vice-Coordinator in the AFET Committee
• Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca MEP, Vice-President of the EP,
• José Ignacio Salafranca, EPP-ED Group Coordinator in the AFET committee,
• José Ribeiro e Castro, EPP-ED Group Coordinator in the subcommittee on Human Rights, ICDC member.
• Raimon Obiols i Germŕ, Chairman of the EP delegation for relations with the countries of Central America.
• Fernando Fernández Martín, Vice-Chairman of the delegation for relations with the countries of the Andean Community
• Jana Hybášková ME,
• Edward McMillan-Scott, ICDC member
• Janusz Onyszkiewicz,
• Boguslaw Sonik,
• Camiel Eurlings, Head of the Dutch Delegation in the EPP-ED Group,
• Jacek Emil Saryusz-Wolski MEP, Vice-President of the EP.
• Cecilia Malmstrom, ICDC member

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