Mercosur has problems, it's not working as it should and its future in uncertain, said Danilo Astori, Uruguay's future Finance Minister who takes office next March.
In an interview with a Montevideo daily Mr. Astori insisted with his scepticism regarding the future of the regional customs union that includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
"Unfortunately I believe we've been yielding because to the congenital institutional weakness of the group we must add the responsibility of the large economies that have big loopholes regarding the essence of the free trade zone spirit that should be prevailing", emphasized Mr. Astori. "And not to mention a common trade policy, particularly regarding the customs union".
Mr. Astori added that there is "absolutely no coordination of economic policies", and this happens when "at last Mercosur has managed to have similar monetary policies".
The future Uruguayan Finance minister of the left wing coalition that won by a majority of votes in the first round of last October's election, underlined that "important vacuums in trade affairs are being left behind when Mercosur is advancing in extending trade relations with other South American countries".
Mr. Astori said Uruguay must outline as a priority "the necessary steps to help solve these problems", otherwise "Mercosur has an uncertain future" and forecasted Uruguay will be exposed to turbulences "if this is not achieved".
"I'm a strong supporter of the Mercosur project, but I can't support the idea of a Mercosur Parliament when we even don't have a functioning free market in the region", pointed out Mr. Astori who said Mercosur foundations and institutions "are extremely weak".
"We can't talk of a ten country integration process (South American Community of Nations), an idea I support, when we squabble over the documents of a truck that has to cross a common border, or because one of the larger economies requests safeguards and the other one denies them", concluded Mr. Astori.