It's a fact, Argentina is the 'main obstacle' for Mercosur to advance in reaching a trade agreement with the European Union, and Venezuela, the latest incorporation to the group, is also hindering efforts, revealed Uruguay's Economy minister Danilo Astori during a conference on the country's investment prospects.
It could be that in the near future we could perceive attitude changes from Argentina, which has been, we are going to say it openly, the most important obstacle which Mercosur has faced so far, because of its economic policies, to further beyond borders of the region in the search of integration accords, admitted Astori, who in recent years has become a fervent advocate of open markets and trade agreements.
The situation with Venezuela is 'different' since the country has a 'self-exclusion' attitude when it comes to trade or agreements of this kind, added Astori, who then insisted that this posture should not become an obstacle to stop Mercosur as a whole in advancing.
Brazil, lately, on the other hand has shown a qualitatively different attitude and a greater willingness to have Mercosur join the European Union in an overall trade and cooperation agreement.
Uruguay must continue with its clear purpose of integration to the world overall, without letting opportunities outside the region go by, and at the same time work from within the region to accompany the global process. In other words, it's time to attempt to put the whole of Mercosur back on rail so it can advance in what remains unfinished argued Astori.
Likewise I do not share that strict option 'we're in or we're out', at least in current circumstances and above all when we are in threshold of political changes in the region.
Given the reticence of Argentina, the Uruguayan and Brazilian governments had proposed attempting a two-speed agreement with the EU, however this initiative fell through, because of president Cristina Fernandez warning with the Mercosur veto rule.
Now this has meant we must attempt that all member countries support the trade agreement with Mercosur as a whole”.