EU says to support Cuba's economic modernization, strengthen ties with Havana

12:38 | 15/09/2019 Cooperation

The European Union (EU) is willing to support Cuba's economic modernization drive, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said on September 9.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (R) meets Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on September 8, 2019, in Havana - Photo: AFP

"We are willing to accompany Cuba through this process with our cooperation. It is time to take advantage of all the opportunities offered by this renewed relationship and to continue enriching it in the coming years," said Mogherini, who is also vice president of the European Commission.

At a press conference following a meeting with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, Mogherini hailed the "frank, open and constructive discussions," and reaffirmed the EU's "deep interest" in consolidating ties with Havana.

New opportunities for cooperation have opened up in the fields of energy, climate change, environment and culture, noted Mogherini.

The European diplomat stressed her rejection of Washington's decision to apply the Helms-Burton Act by activating Title III for the first time in 23 years.

The measure could potentially pave the way for scores of U.S. lawsuits against European companies operating in Cuba with businesses or properties that were nationalized or expropriated after the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

According to Mogherini, applying the legislation to European companies would be "illegal" and the bloc will resort to "all measures" necessary to protect the legitimate interests of its citizens.

Rodriguez said Cuba supports that determination and appreciates EU businesses commitment to Cuba despite "pressure" from Washington designed to isolate Cuba's government from the international community.

Mogherini began an official visit to Cuba on September 7 to attend the second EU-Cuba Joint Council meeting, which kicked off on September 9 in Havana.

Theo NDO/Xinhua