Sunday, April 20, 2003
So Easy - 20th April 2003, 13.55

It is always a pleasure to examine the actions of the European Union and to unearth another test of their commitment to freedom. Given Castro's predictable moves to destroy a home-grown movement of dissent whilst the West's attentions were (supposedly) diverted in Iraq, one would assume that Europe and America would take steps to punish the communist, one-party state for its repression.

The Cotonou Pact was signed on the 23rd June 2000 at Benin between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. Under article 9, the fundamental political aims of all parties are set out: "Respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law, which underpin the ACP-EU Partnership, shall underpin the domestic and international policies of the Parties and constitute the essential elements of this Agreement." The Pact was ratified by its members on the 1st April 2003.

The Cotonou Pact includes Zimbabwe although aid is currently frozen due to the Mugabe regime. Cuba has also applied to join and it shall be interesting to see if the EU observes the values that it sets out as a mantra on all of its treaties. The organisation recently opened a trade mission in Havana and the Development Commissioner, Poul Nielson, stated that the communist one-party state of Cuba fell into the category of countries considered "eligible" to join the Pact.

The EU is hoist on its own petard, since managing its trade to promote certain values and transnationalist institutions, will leave it open to the charge of hypocrisy. Free trade brings its own rewards and may have shortened the period of misery that the Cubans currently endure.


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