The European Union remains fully committed to reach a free trade agreement with Mercosur said Geoffrey Barrett head of the EU delegation in Uruguay and Paraguay, during a EU sponsored conference in Asunción.
“You can be sure and confident because there’s a mandate from EU member states to negotiate an association agreement with Mercosur”, said Barrett who added that once it is achieved “it would become the largest free trade zone in the world”.
Precisely this week EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht is visiting Brazil and Argentina to advance EU/Mercosur trade talks. The two sides are scheduled to meet next month in Brussels to continue a round of talks which was begun last June in Buenos Aires.
Barrett is participating of a conference of EU Latin America representatives with civil society social organizations from 16 regional countries with the purpose of better structuring cooperation programs.
“The EU has consolidated its position as the main donor of development aid, which is equivalent to 60% of the world’s total”, said Eduardo Lechuga, head of the Business Section from the EU delegation in Paraguay.
Lechuga said that EU aid in 2009 added to 12 billion Euros to be distributed among 160 countries with the purpose of “eradicating poverty and contribute to economic and democratic development”. Latin America’s share is equivalent to 500 million Euros, mainly fro bilateral programs and projects.
The round of talks and meetings with social organizations is part of an EU initiative launched last March under the name of EC Structured Dialogue for an efficient partnership in development.