Although liberalised trade has not been high on Cuba`s agenda, it is speculated that it could be part of a future association agreement, given that Cuban products imported into the EU no longer benefit from Europe`s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) since the beginning of this year, making them less competitive. Some Europeans propose that Europe`s interest in an association agreement with Cuba should be motivated by the desire to have an agreement before relations between the United States and Cuba improve. Whether this is true or not, a formal association agreement with Europe would not only strengthen ties with Cuba, but would also mean that the EU would have reached an agreement with the only country in Latin America and the Caribbean with which it would not have concluded broad political and economic agreements. The confirmation of a high-level change in European policy stems from the recent positive statements on the need to improve relations between EU Member States, which were previously seen as a hard line in the dialogue. It also coincides with a growing trend by EU Member States to circumvent the EU`s common position by signing bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding with Havana, which allow for broad exchanges on issues ranging from trade to drug interdiction and cultural exchanges. At the end of 2013, a final stumbling blocks were created and still needs to be resolved. Then, EU Permanent Representatives postponed consideration of a European Commission recommendation to the Council to approve a mandate that would allow the EC to start negotiations for political dialogue and a cooperation agreement with Cuba. Several opposition groups have called on the EU to suspend its cooperation agreement with Cuba, with the groups citing intensified repression on the one-party island. The EU is Cuba`s second largest trading partner (20% of total Cuban trade). The EU is the second largest source of Cuban imports (20%) and the third most important destination for Cuban exports (21%). The EU is Cuba`s largest external investor.
About a third of the tourists who visit the island each year come from the European Union.  Relations between Cuba and the European Union are the international relations between the Republic of Cuba and the common external and commercial relations of the European Union (EU). Relations have deteriorated in recent years as a result of Cuba`s poor human rights record and the European Union`s numerous accusations of Cuba`s human rights violations. Although Barroso did not address this issue in more detail, he referred to the likely agreement when the European Foreign Affairs Council on 10 February meets with the Commission`s proposals for Europe to negotiate some form of association agreement with Cuba. The intervention by the President of the EC follows the statements made at the beginning of January in Havana by the Dutch Foreign Minister, Frans Timmermans. The visit, the first by a Dutch foreign minister since the Cuban revolution, covered two days of high-level exchanges, during which he stressed the need to improve the European Union`s relations with Cuba. . .