Current trade negotiations between the European Union and Mercosur dominated the opening speeches at of Eurolat (Europe/Latin America Parliaments) Fifth Plenary Session which is taking place in Montevideo.
Eurolat co-president Jose Ignacio Salafranca (Spain) underlined the significance and desirability of an EU/Mercosur trade and cooperation agreement and downplayed recent remarks from French president Nicholas Sarkozy questioning the results of the current negotiations if they have an impact on farmers’ incomes and rural jobs.
“Thanks to the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament has new powers to ratify pending association and trade agreements with Central America, Colombia and Peru. It will be also in our hands to give impetus to negotiations between the EU and Mercosur for an agreement which we believe will multiply exponentially trade, political and cultural exchanges between both regions said Salafranca.
He added that the EU parliament has often stressed the desirability of achieving a balanced and ambitious approach with Mercosur and “if there is enough political will, we shall be able to find a solution to accommodate the interests of both parties, especially in the case of sensitive agricultural products.
The MEP also stressed the importance of the fact that this Fifth Parliamentary Session in Montevideo had brought together parliamentary representatives from both regions in tough times of economic crisis, when Europe is fighting to find the path of economic growth and employment creation, whereas Latin America, together with Asia, is leading world economic growth.
The fifth plenary session was formally opened by Uruguayan president Jose Mujica who expressing the spirit of cooperation pointed out “we must stand united or else we will fail. In today's globalized world there will be no space for the weak.
His statements were supported by Eurolat co-president Salafranca who warned that isolation, even if sought by the richest or most powerful, is now an impossible dream.
On Tuesday the Eurolat Executive Bureau adopted a Declaration on the situation of the Arab countries in the Mediterranean, unanimously calling for an independent enquiry, under the auspices of the United Nations or the International Criminal Court, into the violent attacks to suppress protestors in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain.
The parliamentarians also expressed their strong support for the democratic reforms starting in Tunisia and Egypt and took note of the real consequences” brought about by the UN Security Council resolutions on Libya.