A member of the European Union assured it is not possible to negotiate an agreement between the EU and Mercosur without Argentina, as the Spanish Government planned after the country’s decision to expropriate YPF.
“If we negotiate with Mercosur, we negotiate with Mercosur, which is an association of four countries, we cannot negotiate with three quarters of the Mercosur as well as we cannot negotiate with three quarters of the EU,” chief executive of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Christian Leffler affirmed.
“We are still aimed to arrange an association between the EU and Mercosur. We still are working to achieve this, although the current conditions present new challenges and has new complication,” he continued during a press conference held in Paraguay.
The EU representative assured this after being asked over the intention of Spain’s Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo to leave Argentina out of an agreement with Mercosur, which also includes Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Leffler also stated that he will visit Buenos Aires within the next days. “Taking into account the current conditions, we’ve agreed with Argentine authorities to postpone this meeting in order to clarify things and hold a more productive encounter,” he assured.
The EU representative hopes that “Argentina respects” the “legal context” and “its judicial obligations over the decision that the president Cristina Fernández has made.”
“The EU does not question Argentina’s right to decide over its sovereignty of the natural resources or the future of this company,” Leffler said and added that he considers “there is a legal Argentine context and there is an international context of the Argentine bilateral obligations with Europe and other countries of the world”.
He insisted that the countries “can advance towards nationalizations or expropriations in certain conditions and the decision to apply them is political, but those decisions must be taken in a clear legal context”.
Mercosur and the EU are negotiating a wide ranging cooperation and trade agreement with the next round of discussions scheduled to take place in Argentina which currently holds the rotating Mercosur chair. Both sides agreed to resume negotiations once the French election was behind. The run off between President Sarkozy and the Socialist candidate who won the first round Hollande is scheduled for May 6.