Mercosur prepares to celebrate 25th anniversary hoping it can be 'reborn' under Argentine leadership
On Saturday 26 March the Asuncion Treaty, which gave birth to Mercosur, the Common Market of the South, will be 25, and even with celebration plans the mood of its members is not enthusiastic following years of too much ideology and too little trade and business, distant from the original idea and purpose.
The attempt by Uruguay to draft a strong Mercosur and Unasur resolution in support of embattled Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has foundered. Argentina is only prepared to express support for Brazil's institutions while Chile and Paraguay have balked at the idea of personalizing the issue in Rousseff and her Workers Party.
The member of the Falklands/Malvinas legislative assembly Phyllis Rendell on a private visit to Paraguay openly stated that the South Atlantic archipelago claimed by Argentina is a British Overseas Territory and underlined that the sovereignty issue was settled with a war between the two sides over thirty years ago.
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on Wednesday served mass at Russia’s Bellingshausen Antarctic station on Waterloo Island and raised a prayer for the entire world. It was the last leg of the Patriarch's Latin American tour that included a meeting with Pope Francis in Cuba, ending a Christianity schism of almost a thousand years.
The presidents of Mercosur member-countries have confirmed attendance to the group's summit scheduled for next 21 December and hosted by Paraguay, the country that currently holds the rotating chair, according to diplomatic sources in Asuncion.
Mercosur is waiting for the European Union to decide when to begin the exchange of tariff-reduction proposals with the purpose of reaching an encompassing trade and cooperation agreement, despite France's objections to the move, said Rigoberto Gauto, Paraguay's deputy foreign minister. Paraguay currently holds the Mercosur chair and leads negotiations with Brussels.
The European Union said it hopes the election of a centre-right government in Argentina will give new impetus to stalled talks on a free trade pact with Mercosur, the Latin American bloc.
Mercosur is only waiting for the European Union to begin the political negotiations on the long delayed overall trade agreement, announced Paraguay's foreign minister Eladio Loizaga in Asunción, just back from Brussels where he met with EU and Belgian officials.
Paraguay’s ruling conservative party lost the mayor’s office in the capital Asunción on Sunday in a surprise midterm setback for President Horacio Cartes. Popular TV presenter Mario Ferreiro defeated incumbent Arnaldo Samaniego of the president’s Colorado party, 50.99% to 40.56%, according to official results with all ballots counted.
Mercosur heads of state next summit is scheduled for 21 December in Asunción, Paraguay, the country currently holding the group's chair. At the meeting the six-month rotating chair will be handed to Uruguay for the first half of 2016.