EU/Mercosur trade talks suspended until after Paraguayan elections of April 2013
The removal of Fernando Lugo as president of Paraguay interrupted European Union/Mercosur discussions, which could resume following the April 2013 presidential elections said on Wednesday the European Parliament mission visiting Asunción.
“The calendar of negotiations with Mercosur has been suspended and its resumption will take place when the Paraguayan transition normalizes with the general elections scheduled for 21 April 2013” said MEP Luis Yañez Barnuevo, who heads the fact finding in-situ delegation of lawmakers.
MEP Yañez-Barnuevo said that the mission’s task was limited to obtaining information on the Paraguayan situation. The mission arrived on Sunday and was scheduled to leave on Wednesday.
“We are not judges that have come to dictate a verdict: that belongs to the Paraguayans, and only to the Paraguayans”, said the Spanish MEP when asked if the European Parliament was planning to impose any measures as a consequence of the removal of Lugo, last June 22, following a summary political impeachment.
“We hope that the next elections will be held in a framework of social peace, respect for human rights and transparency. We are here to help promote dialogue and social peace and if Paraguay requests the presence of EU observers we will consider it and assess the possibility of sending a mission”, added Yañez-Barnuevo.
The MEP pledged that the EU will maintain its support and cooperation programs with Paraguay.
Lugo was removed from office by the Senate (39 to 4 votes) for “ill performance” of his presidential duties following a serious shootout between the police and landless peasants that left 17 dead.
However his replacement by Vice president Federico Franco triggered an immediate reaction from Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay) that on June 29 during a twice a year summit in Mendoza decided to suspend Paraguay until next year’s elections. A similar attitude was adopted by Unasur.
But the Organization of American States, which also sent a fact finding mission to Paraguay still has to decide what attitude it will adopt. Several countries of the Americas are also waiting for the report before they take position on the issue.