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Stefano Manservisi, with the Minister of Energy and Mines, Alfredo López Valdes, at the sustainable energy fair in Havana. (@stefanomanservi)

14ymedio biggerEFE, via 14ymedio, Havana, 1 February 2018 — The European Union (EU) has offered to share its experience in transitioning to the euro to aid Cuba in its transition to a single currency, one of the main challenges facing in the Cuban economy and something some experts believe could happen this year.

The European Commission’s Director General for International Cooperation and Development, Stefano Manservisi, stated Wednesday in Havana that the EU has offered the Cuban Government technical assistance with this transition, which Raúl Castro has acknowledged is urgent.

Manservisi, who is in Cuba to attend a conference on sustainable energy made possible with European funding, said in a press conference that the EU can share its experience both in the macroeconomic sense and by providing technical assistance in carrying out unification, including price controls.

The senior official stressed that, with the introduction of the euro, the EU faced “the world’s most important monetary transformation.”

“We have made this offer and we will work on it,” said the head of European cooperation, who has stated that loans and foreign investment will depend on solutions to end Cuba’s dual currency system.

He noted that most of these loans are currently made in foreign currency and, therefore, the transition to a single currency will not affect projects that are already underway.

Manservisi did not raise this issue with Cuban authorities during his visit but he did discuss it earlier this month the with the EU’s chief representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini.

Last December Raúl Castro told the Cuban Parliament that “the solution to the country’s dual currency system cannot be delayed any longer” since it is “the most essential step” in advancing the reforms promoted during his presidency to update the island’s socialist economy.

The persistently high cost of the two-currency system to the state sector is incalculable and has created an unfair, inverted pyramid in which those with the greatest responsibility receive the least compensation,” Castro said.

Cuban authorities have explained that the primary goals of currency unification is to reestablish the Cuban peso (CUP) as the national currency and restore its monetary value.

Although the process of unifying the country’s two currencies began with the adoption of a series of measures in 2013, it is still unclear when they will actually take effect. Economists inside and outside the island have speculated in recent weeks that is likely to occur this year.

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