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European Law MonitorCommissioner Michel looks forward to positive engagement with Cuba

Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, has expressed his keenness to explore a positive political dialogue with the Cuban authorities on the eve of his visit.

Speaking just ahead of his departure to Cuba, Commissioner Michel reiterated his hope to advance the EU's dialogue process with the government of President Raul Castro during his two day visit.

Commissioner Michel said, "This is an important visit for both the EU and Cuba that takes place only few days after the nomination of Raul Castro as Head of State. The principal aim of this trip is to contribute to the normalisation of our relationship by improving the dialogue process between the EU and Cuba. For this to be achieved, it's important that we have an open dialogue that should cover all topics of mutual interest including political, human rights, economic, scientific and cultural fields."

Commissioner Michel also welcomed last week's signing of International Covenants on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and on Civil and Political Rights by the Cuban government.

"The decision to sign these important international agreements along with the earlier release of a number of political prisoners are positive steps that deserve being acknowledged," added Commissioner Michel.

The European Commission stands ready to work with the Cuban Government, in coordination with our European Union partners, to improve and deepen cooperation issues of common interest such as the environment and climate change. These issues will be discussed during the visit, as well as President Raul Castro´s intentions to undertake a re-structuring of the State administration and a number of economic reforms.