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Wednesday, 03 February 2010

Zapatero's Cuba initiative runs into opposition

The Spanish Presidency's hopes of reviewing the EU's long-standing position on Cuba were frustrated last week when influential representatives from Europe's leading political family proclaimed their opposition to the move. A panel discussion organised by the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) and the Lech Wałęsa Institute in Brussels saw Spanish and Polish delegates reject moves by Spanish Prime Minister José Luiz Rodríguez Zapatero to rekindle relations with the dissenting Caribbean state. Polish parliamentarians drew heavy comparisons between the situation of the people of Cuba and that of Polish citizens before 1989. Ryszard Schnepf, Poland's ambassador to Madrid, claimed that "Polish people have a special right to speak on this matter because of what we suffered. We Polish can prove that impossible things can indeed become possible". Spanish members of the European People's Party (EPP), from the Partido Popular (PP), suggested taking lessons from Spain's peaceful democratic transition in the 1970s. "The internal dynamics are always the key. External factors can help, but are never decisive," said Jaime Mayor Oreja, EPP vice-president and leading Spanish candidate in last June's European elections.

Source: Euractiv