EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc will support Cuba's modernisation despite a hike in US sanctions against the country. She was speaking at a joint news conference with Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez in Havana on Tuesday.

"The European Union strictly condemns the full activation of the Helms-Burton Act by United States and considers its extraterritorial unilateral usage of power illegal, and will take all the appropriate measures to protect its [Cuba's] legitimate interests, citizens and businesses," said Mogherini.

Mogherini emphasized that the EU's role in Cuba's development would be limited to sharing its experience and supporting financially. 'This is not for the European Union to give suggestions to Cuba or to any other partner we have in the world on how to proceed on the economic policies. But we are seeing, for instance, in the new constitution, some clear indications about the new orientations of the economic policy," said Mogherini.

Cuba adopted a new constitution after it was supported in a referendum on February 24. The new law recognises private property and limits presidential powers - changes that were welcomed by the EU.

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