The European Union and Mercosur will resume talks on a free trade agreement during a coming summit in Brazil and later at a meeting in Santiago de Chile, both in January, according to the EU chief delegate in Brazil, Ana Paula Zacarias.
The EU/Brazil summit is scheduled for next January 24 in Brasilia with the attendance of the European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso; the head of the European council Herman Van Rompuy and the Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.
“One of the messages from Europe will be the strong commitment that the agreement finally becomes a reality”, said Zacarias who added that the EU wants to prop negotiations and “we believe that from the Brazilian side also”.
The three top EU leaders will then travel to Chile for the CELAC summit to be held in Santiago on 26/27 January. CELAC stands for the Community of Latinamerican and Caribbean States. The Mercosur/EU round will be parallel to this regional summit.
The 27 countries that make up the EU and Mercosur resumed negotiations for a wide ranging cooperation and free trade agreement in May 2010 following six years of recess unable to agree on some basic issues.
Last July Venezuela became a full member of Mercosur, just a month after Paraguay was suspended from the group following the removal of Fernando Lugo and his replacement by President Federico Franco. The suspension extensive and confirmed by Unasur is until April 2013 when the next elections are scheduled.
With full member Paraguay suspended the discussions were completely interrupted although Europe was also having its share of problems with the unsolved Euro crisis and the inconclusive budget discussions.
In her most recent trip to Spain in November Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff underlined “the strategic importance of negotiations between Mercosur and the EU looking for a balanced accord which enables to increase trade between the two regions to the benefit of both sides”.