Javier Solana, the European Union Foreign Affairs and Common Security Representative, specially invited to the Buenos Aires summit, addressed Mercosur presidents pledging that changes in Europe will not mean a loss of interest in the region.
"You should look at Europe with trust, we consider this relation vital, since Mercosur is the most important, closest and regional organisation with greater future prospects", said Mr. Solana.
Mercosur fears that the incorporation of former Soviet satellites to Europe will thwart advancement in trade negotiations and opening of the European economy.
Mr. Solana said Europe will need more "flexible and efficient" institutions to face this challenge, as well as a "great economic and solidarity effort with those countries".
Further on Mr. Solanas proposed a three points agenda to advance in the EU-Mercosur free trade talks: greater political dialogue, co-operation, and strengthening of commercial and economic relations.
Regarding political dialogue Mr. Solanas suggested that both blocks should share their visions of world issues and globalisation with the objective of drawing a common strategic policy.
Specifically on trade Mr. Solanas, said the relation with Mercosur was significant but not satisfactory, and indicated that it was essential to discuss non tariff issues before beginning tariff issues talks scheduled for next July 2001.
Mr. Solanas admitted Mercosur was the main Latinamerican trade block for Europe and underlined Brussels political commitment to reach a free trade agreement with Mercosur and Chile, but also suggested "imaginative solutions for complex situations".