Uruguayan president Tabare Vazquez said that Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay are ready to sign the long delayed trade and cooperation agreement between Mercosur and the European Union. Such an agreement has become one of the cornerstones of Vazquez presidency faced with falling exports and limited markets.
I would say we are ready to sign now; some Mercosur member has asked for more time, and will most probably join in later on, said Vazquez during an open cabinet meeting in the city of Dolores, Soriano, 220 kilometers west from Montevideo.
Uruguay's position is well known regarding a free trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union, underlined the Uruguayan leader that has decided that once a month the Monday cabinet meetings should be held in some city outside the capital Montevideo, with a period of open questions from common citizens.
However if it is not possible for the agreement to be signed simultaneously with all Mercosur members (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay; Venezuela is still in the process of incorporation to the South American group), Uruguay has proposed that we advance differently, at different speeds, and different timings, but advance we must.
Vazquez added that Uruguay's position is crystal clear, and it coincides with those of Brazil and Paraguay. The Uruguayan president has met with his two counterparts, particularly Brazil, to agree on the stance.
”If this can be put forward in the coming meetings at the EU/Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, (Celac), great, and if not, we shall see how we can be sure to advance on the issue, insisted President Vazquez.
Last 21 May Vazquez travelled to Brasilia where he met with his counterpart Dilma Rousseff and they agreed that the priority objective for the two countries was the trade and cooperation negotiations of Mercosur with the European Union.
At the time Economy and Finance minister Danilo Astori revealed that Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil are ready to begin negotiations, but with the agreed conviction to respect Argentina's timings.
If Argentina decides not to participate in negotiations at this moment, the rest of the block will continue to advance, added Astori.
However all the enthusiasm and determination was watered down on June first when the Uruguayan ambassador in Brussels, before the European Union, Walter Cancela pointed out that signing a free trade agreement between Mercosur and the EU, will have to be with Argentina, and if not it won't be.
Likewise he insisted the agreement had to be signed by the EU with the four Mercosur members, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina and so far there is no talks of a possible two speeds accord”.
Following the incident last 4 June, Foreign minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa, who originally had instructed Cancela's dismissal for openly expressing an opinion different to that of official policy, reported the ambassador had been reprimanded but will remain on the job until the end of his term in a couple of months.