By Michael Voss | BBC News, Havana
European commissioner Louis Michel has arrived in Havana for meetings aimed at a formal resumption of co-operation between the EU and Cuba.
The two-day visit is the result of the EU agreeing to remove all sanctions against communist Cuba in June.
Mr Michel will meet Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque.
The European commissioner for development and humanitarian aid will also tour hurricane-damaged areas, Cuba’s Granma newspaper reports.
So far Cuba has refused to accept offers of hurricane assistance or any other forms of development aid from the European Union. That could be coming to an end.
How to deal with Cuba is one area where Europe and the United States have substantial differences.
Since Raul Castro took over the presidency, following his brother Fidel’s retirement due to ill health, EU policy has been to try and develop a dialogue with Cuba in the hope of influencing change.
But the Cubans demanded that the EU formally lift the diplomatic sanctions which it imposed in 2003, following the mass arrest of dissidents. The sanctions were suspended in 2005, but only eliminated altogether at the EU summit in June.
Now if this week’s talks are successful the two sides are expected to sign a formal accord, reinstating co-operation.
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