NETHERLANDS/CUBA/EU: STILL A CHANCE TO RESIST CHANGE IN EU POLICY

Identifier: 
05THEHAGUE206

C O N F I D E N T I A L THE HAGUE 000206

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/28/2015
TAGS: PREL, PHUM, NL, CU, EZ, EUN
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS/CUBA/EU: STILL A CHANCE TO RESIST
CHANGE IN EU POLICY

REF: TRAUB/DODMAN EMAIL OF 1/28

Classified By: Political Counselor Andrew Schofer for reasons 1.4 (b) a
nd (d).

1. (C) Dutch interlocutors informed Poloff on January 27
that the Czech Republic continues to pose obstacles to
implementing the COLAT's proposed revisions to the EU's
strict "June measures" against the Cuban regime. If the
Czechs remain firm, this could make it difficult for the
January 31 GAERC to adopt a more relaxed position on Cuba as
an "A" point (i.e., without substantive discussion.) Marion
Kappeyne de Coppello (MFA, Director Western Hemisphere
Affairs), told poloff that "the Czechs are being unhelpful"
by refusing to go along with consensus, complaining that "it
is not a good thing for the EU." She confirmed that the Dutch
want to maintain the consensus they thought they had from the
last COLAT meeting under their presidency in December and use
the draft conclusion as it now stands.

2. (C) Later the same morning at an official briefing to
Australia, New Zealand and the USG on the GAERC, Derk
Oldenburg (MFA, European Integration) confirmed that the
Czechs were resisting the change in EU Cuba policy without
giving specifics. He added that many in the Netherlands,
himself included, opposed the change in principal but it
seemed inevitable. His defense of the EU position was
lackluster and he ruefully admitted to Poloff that the
proposed GAERC conclusion lacked express caveats or
benchmarks to measure improvements in Cuban behavior between
now and the six month review deadline. This means, among
other things, that there is no mention of releasing the
remaining 64 prisoners whose arrest precipitated the "June
measures." (This failure to be explicit seems to lie behind
the Czech objections to the current draft; ref email.)
Poloff urged the Dutch to fall in behind the Czechs and vote
their conscience at the GAERC.
SOBEL