Brazil and Uruguay's plan for a more 'flexible' Mercosur to speed negotiations for an encompassing long delayed trade agreement with the European Union have stumbled with the first official reaction from Argentina, which does not agree with the tariffs' proposals policy or individual trade initiatives from member countries.
Uruguay will be hosting Paraguayan president Horacio Cartes in early June when he is expected to confirm' his country's support to Uruguay and Brazil in their renewed approach to accelerate negotiations for the signing of a full cooperation and free trade agreement with the European Union, which were started fifteen years ago.
Uruguayan president Tabare Vazquez said it was “urgent and necessary” to redesign Mercosur so as to give its members greater 'trade flexibility'. Vazquez made the statements following Thursday meeting with his peer Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia and underlined “it would be naive to admit that Mercosur as it stands currently, is satisfactory”.
Uruguayan president Tabare Vazquez will be meeting his peer, Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia this Thursday to address a dense bilateral agenda, and more specifically the workings and future of Mercosur, in search for a more flexible group, open to agreements with third parties.
Mercosur countries have reached a basic consensus to look for mechanisms that will allow individual members to negotiate trade agreements outside the block, announced Uruguay's foreign minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa, who has been leading a strong campaign (with Brazilian support) on the issue.
Bolivia is closer to becoming a full member of Mercosur following on Argentina's ratification of the Adhesion Protocol.
The Argentina government formally announced on Monday the primary and national elections calendar, which for the first time includes direct vote for representatives to the Mercosur parliament. Simultaneous primaries will be held on 9 August while the presidential election on 25 October.
Uruguay and Brazil presidents, scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting next 21 May in Brasilia will be addressing Mercosur issues, and advancing in the proposal that will allow the group's members to sign bilateral agreements with third parties not belonging to the region, thus avoiding the 'consensus' clause clamp.
Brazil has proposed reviewing Mercosur rules so that its members can enjoy more 'liberty' to negotiate trade agreements with other blocks or third parties, because even when Mercosur is an indissoluble marriage, this does mean that relations can't be discussed and thus a 'different speeds' group should not be discarded.
Uruguay's foreign minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa called on Mercosur to overcome hollow rhetoric and advance towards the elimination of barriers which restrict access to other markets and intra-region trade.