Negotiations for an ample trade and cooperation agreement between the European Union and Mercosur are strategic, essential and must be urgently concluded, said Ramon Jauregui, head of the Euro-chamber for Latin America delegation, following on the recent accords signed by the EU with Ecuador and Cuba.4 comments
Venezuela announced on Friday that it had transferred the Mercosur pro tempore chair to Argentina, having ended its legitimate tenure of the post, although the rest of the block's members had already complied with the formalities two weeks ago when they also decided to suspend the regime of president Nicolas Maduro.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri on Monday reshuffled his economic team removing finance minister Alfonso Prat-Gay amid a stubborn recession, soaring budget deficit, a discussion on gradualism to address inflation and public opinion deep disappointment with center-right reforms.
The Rio Santiago shipyard (ARS) Tuesday began building the first ship for the Argentine Navy in 38 years, it was announced.
Argentina and Chile agreed to organize a major Mercosur, Pacific Alliance trade blocks' meeting during the first half of 2017. Last Friday Chilean president Michelle Bachelet and her cabinet were in Buenos Aires with peers Mauricio Macri and ministers as part of an agenda of regular meetings to address a joint agenda.
If Venezuela's intention was to spoil Argentina's ceremony as the new holder of Mercosur pro tempore chair for the next six months, they certainly managed. A low key event at foreign ministers level, instead of a presidential summit, was briefly interrupted by the uninvited attendance of Venezuelan foreign minister 'Delcy Rodríguez' who turned up in Buenos Aires to protest what Caracas considers a Mercosur confabulation against Venezuela, suspended from the block since last 2 December.
In what is turning into a Caribbean soap opera, Venezuela's foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez, with Bolivia's David Choquehuenca, on Wednesday morning turned up at Argentina's foreign ministry pretending to participate in an extraordinary Mercosur council meeting, to which she had not been invited since Venezuela is officially suspended from the group.
The government of President Nicolas Maduro government closed the border with Brazil for 72 hours for the same reason it had taken the same measure with Colombia: money smuggling, Brazilian local authorities and residents of southern Venezuela who routinely cross to Brazil where they can make transactions in bolivars confirmed.
On the eve of Argentina becoming the next chair of Mercosur, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro revealed he held an hour long video conference with his Uruguayan peer Tabare Vazquez and they both agreed in building a path to channel the current conflict, which has Venezuela suspended from the group, but is rejected point blank by Caracas.
Argentina's priority as chair of Mercosur which it will officially take over this week will be to advance negotiations with the European Union for a wide ranging trade agreement which will not include Venezuela, anticipated foreign minister Susana Malcorra .