Sweden has yet to give an official reason why it rejected and effectively sunk an EU bill to improve relations with Cuba’s socialist dictatorship and reward the murderous Castro regime. But despite the efforts by many EU member states to whitewash or ignore the human rights atrocities committed by the Cuban dictatorship, it appears Sweden was not buying into the ruse.
What does Sweden’s withdrawal of EU-Cuba bill mean?
The Swedish government has withdrawn a proposal that would have ratified a landmark EU-Cuba deal covering trade and political dialogue, a move welcomed by civil rights activists who are critical of the country’s one-party system.
The proposal, under the name ‘Deal on political dialogue and collaboration between the European Union and its member states, on one side, and the Cuban Republic on the other’, was first put to parliament in 2018, but from the beginning has divided Swedish lawmakers.
The position of the EU, and the Swedish government at the time, was that further isolation will not encourage Cuba to improve on human rights, and that a common EU position would instead be the best way to achieve that.
But two of Sweden’s political parties, the Liberals and Christian Democrats, said back in 2018 that they would vote against the proposal if it was taken to parliament.
Both parties told Foreign Minister Margot Wallström during a parliamentary Question Time that they would not back the agreement until there are significant changes in the Cuban regime’s stance on human rights.
The government did not cite any reasons in the message to parliament which formally withdrew the agreement. It comes after the parliamentary foreign commission tabled a vote on the proposal which had been scheduled for April 24th.
A press representative for Wallström told The Local that the bill’s withdrawal was due to logistics. “It was because the parliament didn’t have the time to [process the proposal] this year, so it was not an active decision by anyone,” she said, directing The Local to the Foreign Ministry’s press department, which The Local has contacted for further comment.
The proposal was sent to parliament shortly before September’s elections, which were followed by months of deadlock, only broken by the so-called January agreement between the governing Social Democrats and Green Party with the Centre and Liberal parties.
Foreign policy, however, was not part of the 73-point four-party agreement, leaving the government with no majority and in a position of needing to negotiate.
Civil Rights Defenders, an organization that has long campaigned against ratification of the deal, has welcomed the proposal’s withdrawal, and suggested that the latest developments suggest there is insufficient support for the deal in parliament.
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