Official says European firms poised to invest
Journal of Commerce
30 maggio 1995
di Milan Ruzicka
SOMMARIO. Emma Bonino, in una intervista rilasciata a N.York nel corso della sua visita americana dopo il passaggio a Cuba, dà interessanti giudizi sui cambiamenti verificatisi nel governo castrista, sulle possibilità di migliori rapporti tra Cuba ed Ue, sulle precondizioni necessarie a questo sviluppo, ecc.
New-York - President Fidel Castro's reforms, although headed in the right direction, are far too slow to help Cuba's faltering economy or to merit the revision of Western policies toward his communist regime, according to a top European Union official.
Speaking in an interview, Emma Bonino, the EU commissioner for humanitarian aid and consumer affairs, said, however, a growing number of European companies are poised to invest in Cuba as soon as the government adopts the proposed foreign investment law.
Business delegations from Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain and France have recently visited Cuba, buttressing Havana's hope for the influx of Western capital.
Ms Bonino stopped in New York on her return from an official trip to Havana. She is the second EU commissioner to visit Cuba in as many years.
"The reforms which allow farmer and other small entrepreneurs to work for their own account, the monetary reforms and the proposed investment law are a small step in the right direction", Ms Bonino said. "But they are not broad enough to help them and they cannot be compared to the reforms in Eastern Europe".
She said the EU's staunch opposition to US congressional legislative proposals to further tighten the economic chokehold on the Cuban economy "makes Europe look like Castro's supporters".
"We don't support Castro's regime and we don't think we should revise our position by including Cuba in multilateral agreements on economic cooperation.
Through its Lome convention, the 15-nation EU maintains special trade and economic ties with over 60 developing countries. Cuba is the only nation in the Caribbean region which is not a member of the convention.
The EU, however, granted Cuba almost $25 million in humanitarian aid last year, and plans to extend the program for this year as well. Much of the EU money, which is distributed through international non-governmental organization goes into Cuba's health sector and child nutritional programs.
"Paradoxically, Castro was very grateful for our help, which for him amounts to a partial admission that his domestic policies have failed", Ms Bonino said.
According to Ms Bonino, the recent agreement between Cuba and the United States on the return of Cuban refugees is "widely seen among the officials" in Havana as the beginning of a new relationship between the two countries.
She said Mr Castro has appointed to his government "a pack of bright, young people" who may well lead Cuba out of its economic morass. "Changes in the international situation play an important role in Cuba, but it is up to them to grasp the opportunity," she said.
She said Mr Castro appears to be [greeming?] his successor from among Havana's new technocrats, with Carlos Lage Dabila, secretary of the council of ministers, holding the most prominent position on the list.