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Europe

EU Commissioner Signals Turning Point in EU-Cuban Relations

The relationship between the EU and Cuba has taken a positive turn with the promise of a multi-million euro contribution. EU commissioner Louis Michel underlines the commitment to future cooperation with the country.

The EU and Cuban flags

The EU and Cuba are getting friendly again

After a five-year cold spell, the European Union and Cuba have started warming up relations again with the pledge of a 25-million-euro ($32-million) EU contribution from its fund for environment, technology, trade, culture and catastrophic protections. EU Commissioner Louis Michel made the announcement as part of a declaration signed in Havana on Thursday, Oct. 23.

"This is a turning point in relations between Cuba and the European Union," Michel was quoted as saying. "I am very happy that we have committed to future cooperation in this joint declaration."

After the signing with Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, the EU representative said the EU wanted to resume dialogue with Cuba without taboos.

Hurricane help from the EU

A first gesture was the European aid for Cuba after the hurricanes that devastated the Caribbean island in September.

The EU has made 2 million euros available to help the victims of Gustav and Ike. Michel planned to visit the hard-hit area of Pinar del Rio on Friday.

After Fidel, EU resumes ties

Fidel Castro speaks on the telephone, Oct. 28, 2006

The EU has come calling again, now that Fidel Castro is out of the picture

In 2003, the EU put relations with Cuba on ice over the arrest of dozens of Cuban opposition activists and cut off all contact to former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

After Castro's brother, Raul, took over as leader from the ailing leader of the communist island earlier this year, the EU signaled it was ready to resume contact.

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