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Montevideo, February 16th 2019 - 17:48 UTC

Mercosur leaders agreed on need for reforms in the midst of Bolsonaro's threat to leave

Tuesday, December 18th 2018 - 19:43 UTC
Full article 34 comments
Before passing the group's rotating presidency over to Argentina, Vázquez and his colleagues took a minute to bid farewell to Michel Temer in his last Mercosur appearance Before passing the group's rotating presidency over to Argentina, Vázquez and his colleagues took a minute to bid farewell to Michel Temer in his last Mercosur appearance
Tabaré Vázquez said Mercosur should focus on intra-zone trade Tabaré Vázquez said Mercosur should focus on intra-zone trade

The presidents of all Mercosur member and associate countries gathered Tuesday in Montevideo for a summit to redefine the bloc's future, in light of recent statements from Brazil's future government that the region will not be among the priorities of Jair Bolsonaro when he becomes president on January 1.

Bolsonaro has even hinted Brazil might withdraw from Mercosur if it becomes inconvenient for the country's interests.

With this in mind, Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez gave his opening speech and called for the bloc to focus on “intra-zone trade.”

Vázquez spoke before Presidents Mauricio Macri (Argentina), Michel Temer (Brazil) and Mario Abdo Benítez (Paraguay). Also present was Evo Morales of Mercosur associate member Bolivia.

After a meeting of Mercosur foreign ministers Monday, Brazil's Aloysio Nunes said that the bloc is “a priority” for his country, although Bolsonaro is more than likely to review the agreements in force since 1991.

Back in November, Bolsonaro's future Minister of Agriculture, Tereza Cristina, told the O Globo newspaper that Brazil would try to strengthen Mercosur and have a say therein or else ... it would withdraw from the alliance.

”It's time to sit down and review the Mercosur (...) making an agreement, perhaps, more modern and better,“ Cristina told the O Globo newspaper.

The foreign ministers Monday agreed that the Brazilian position opens an ”opportunity“ to discuss improvement to a bloc that has lost pace in its trade decisions and has not been able to close for 20 years a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.

Before passing the group's rotating presidency over to Argentina, Vázquez and his colleagues took a minute to bid farewell to Michel Temer in his last Mercosur appearance.

The Uruguayan president said he could not overlook Temer's arrival at the helm of Brazil's executive branch following the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, but eventually called ”from his heart” for an applause.

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  • DemonTree

    @JB
    Re Theresa May in Buenos Aires
    ““but for some reason you can't get Argentine pesos there”.....becos there's v. little demand for them..”

    It's not that. Chilean Pesos were available everywhere, if you ordered them, but the Argentine ones nowhere. Maybe it's a legacy of the currency controls they used to have, that haven't all been removed?

    Re redundancy/sacking, can't remember what we were saying exactly. But I know in the US you can lose your job with no notice and for no reason, you just come to work one day and they tell you to go home. I've heard some US companies have taken over smaller ones in Europe intending to gut them, and been dismayed to find they couldn't get rid of their new employees so easily. Sounds like you had protections in Brazil more like Europe.

    Thirty consecutive days would include weekends, then, as well as meaning you can't spread your holidays through the year. Flexible is much better IMO, though in the UK most workers would certainly not be allowed to take a whole month off in one go without special permission, it would be too disruptive. Places I have worked there is never any cover and co-workers have to pick up the slack temporarily, or else it waits till you get back.

    Divide and conquer is effective, and not used only by Lula. Seems to be a human psychology thing that we want someone to hate, so it doesn't take much.

    “Today, he and the PT are against the establishment, simply because it halted their 30 years power project”

    And put him and other PT members in jail, and let someone they bitterly oppose win the presidency. And yes, Lula probably feels contempt for the rich, people who grew up in luxury condos ordering the staff around. It's like old people today who say we have everything easy and don't know what real hardship is.

    Do the feminists demand longer sentences for these 'machista' murderers? Don't think Russia has the death penalty, but they're not exactly famous for their sexual equality (or any other sort) anyway.

    Dec 21st, 2018 - 01:54 pm +1
  • DemonTree

    @JB
    There are quite a few countries in Europe with very generous rights for employees, eg when my Danish colleagues were laid off they got a 3 month notice period. I have also read that France has higher unemployment than the UK (but higher wages) because it is so difficult to get rid of employees it makes them reluctant to hire.. There has to be a balance between the rights of employers and employees, both current and prospective.

    Being asked to work on holiday is pretty cheeky, but at least it means you're important to the business. A month off at once would be pretty useful if you wanted to travel, but I'm glad I can spread mine through the year. It's also useful for parents to take it during the school holidays, though of course they can't cover them all.

    Re Lula, his Presidential salary and payments for lectures (whether given or not), were far from making him the richest man in Brazil. You've mentioned the triplex and a house in Atibaia, but he doesn't seem to have lived a particularly extravagant lifestyle after retiring from the presidency. Even less so before 2003. Why do you think lack of education would give him contempt for the rich?

    Lots of people do think we have it easier today, or get all indignant when someone says it's harder. For someone who grew up with rationing, before central heating and indoor toilets, having to share a room with lots of siblings, it's easy to say there's no hardship now. Doesn't mean there's no problems though, just different ones. Similarly for a poor person it looks like the rich have everything easy and handed to them on a plate, and their parents will bail them out if they ever fail.

    As for your story, now we've got smartphones, e-books, Wikipedia, online shopping with next day delivery, electric cars, and virtual reality. We've had the first private space mission - with reusable rocket - they've made a walking, humanoid robot, and they're working on self-driving cars.

    Dec 23rd, 2018 - 07:19 pm +1
  • :o))

    The ONE important issue that the Group will handle successfully:
    ps://i1.wp.com/www.humorpolitico.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Essa-mamata-vai-acabar.jpg?resize=768%2C645&ssl=1
    Is getting rid of the poor!

    Dec 19th, 2018 - 08:27 am 0
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