Mercosur has “lost focus” because of years of political and ideological discussions instead of concentrating in trade integration, commented Nigel Baker, deputy head of the Foreign Office South America's department during a two day visit to Paraguay. The ex ambassador in the Vatican also anticipated that Brexit, UK leaving the European Union will help strengthen overall relations with Paraguay, one of Mercosur four founding members.
The foreign ministers of Mercosur founding members will adopt a common position regarding the current disarray of the group following on Venezuela's unilateral attitudes said Paraguayan economic affairs and integration deputy minister Rigoberto Gauto.
Argentina considers that Uruguay created a vacuum in Mercosur when it unilaterally adopted the decision to devolve the block's presidency, and creating an unprecedented situation. Since then Mercosur has been involved in a serious controversy over the transfer of the presidency to Venezuela, which has strongly discredited the South American block.
The coordinators of Mercosur founding members will decide next 23 August at a meeting in Montevideo on the legal measures to be applied on Venezuela, which self proclaimed itself the presidency of the group and is also questioned for not complying with the rules and regulations to be incorporated to the group. In that case Venezuela could lose its full member status.
Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina are waiting for a report on Venezuela´s compliance with the accords agreed in 2012, which has to delivered next Friday 12 August, and could lead the group of three counties deciding the suspension of Caracas as full member of Mercosur. A week and a half later, 23 August, representatives of these countries will be meeting to address the issue.
Mercosur founding members coordinators who met in Montevideo on Thursday to address the controversy over the presidency of the group and the self proclamation to the post by Venezuela, did finally reach some conclusions, but the most significant seems to be that they continue to disagree on the steps to follow and are prepared for another round of talks.
Mercosur's disarray and fault lines were again exposed when Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay insisted that Venezuela's self proclamation as president of the group was invalid, and also expressed disappointment with Uruguay for having ended its mandate last Saturday causing great uncertainty.
Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay have announced they do not support Venezuela as the pro tempore presidency of Mercosur, further deepening controversy in the group which could even hinder ongoing trade negotiations with the European Union and closer links with the Pacific Alliance.
Venezuela announced to fellow Mercosur members that for the rest of the year it was the new chair of the group, following on the expiration of Uruguay's six month mandate on Saturday, 30 July. The news was released by Spain's official news agency EFE, which alleges to have had access to the letter sent by the Venezuelan foreign ministry to the other four members.
Paraguay announced officially that it will not be attending the Common Market Council of Mercosur in Montevideo next 30 July, if the agenda includes the transfer of the group's presidency to Venezuela.