Expert conference

The EU’s foreign policy towards Cuba: between pragmatism and value-orientation

Conference hosted by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, “Multinational Dialogue on Development Policy”

Working languages: Spanish, English, German



Due to the death of the dissident Osvaldo Zapato Tamayo at the end of February, the

international attention was focused once more on Cuba. Osvaldo Zapato Tamayo died after 86

days of a hunger strike for better prison conditions. Whilst human rights activists in Cuba are

brave and still standing up with enormous personal risks for freedom and democracy, the

results of more than fifty years after the Cuban revolution are alarming. Facing the current

situation, the statement of Fidel Castro of 9 January 1959 sounds rather cynical, when quoted

nowadays, as he said: “There exists no censorship now, the press is free, and you can be

sure, that no censorship will ever be reintroduced. Today no torture exists, no assassination

attempts and no dictatorship. Today there is only joy…”.

Due to the attempt of the Spanish EU-Presidency to normalize the relationship with the Cuban government, regardless of the ongoing infractions on human rights, and because of the creation of new responsibility structures in the EU in the context of the Lisbon treaty – the new position of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and an empowered European Parliament - the question needs to be discussed again: How coherent is the EU’s policy towards Cuba? The expert roundtable with those interested and engaged in Cuban and Latin American affairs aimed to contribute to this discussion and to promote a value oriented Foreign Policy of the EU.


16:00 hrs Welcome and presentation of speakers

Andrea E. Ostheimer de Sosa

Programme Director, “Multinational Dialogue on Development Policy”,

European office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Brussels

The European Human Rights Policy – litmus test Cuba

Dr. Hans-Gert Pöttering, MEP

Former President of the European Parliament,

Chairman of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

16:30 hrs Questions and requisitions regarding the EU’s policy towards Cuba: a Cuban perspective

Julio Hernández, USA

Movimiento Cristiano Liberación

Yaxys Cires Dib, Spain

Christian Democrat Party of Cuba

17:00 hrs Cuba’s role and position in the Latin American context – What should the EU consider in her policy towards Latin America?

Frank Priess

Director, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Mexico

Rapporteur on Cuba

17:15 hrs Break

17:30 hrs The Cuba Policy of the EU: Diversity in Unity?

José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra MEP

Chairman of the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Assembly of the European Parliament

Dr. Susanne Gratius

FRIDE, A European Think Tank for Global Action

18:00 hrs Panel discussion: Rapprochement or Political pressure – to normalise or to solidarise?


Stefanie Bolzen

Die Welt, Brussels

Arnold Vaatz, MP

Member of the German Bundestag,

Deputy Chairman of the CDU/CSU group at the Bundestag

Manuel Lopez Blanco

Director for Western and Central Africa, Caribbean and OCTs, DG Development, European Commission

D. Jorge Romeu

Sub-Director General for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean,

Spanish Foreign Office

Questions and answers

19:00 hrs Reception

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Cercle Royal Gaulois, Brussels

Press Releases
April 27, 2010
Dr. Gratius; J. Hernández; Dr. Pöttering; A. Ostheimer de Sosa; F
J.I.Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, MEP KAS Brüssel