Uruguay will hand to Argentina next 16 December the pro tempore chair of the South American trade bloc Mercosur. The ceremony as happened six months before with Paraguay will be virtual given the coronavirus pandemic, according to a release from the Uruguayan Executive Office.
Uruguayan president Luis Lacalle Pou, foreign minister Francisco Bustillo and Economy minister Azucena Arbeleche will be participating of the ceremony that will extend from 10:00 to 13:00, with Argentina taking the chair's responsibility for the next six months.
Lacalle Pou is expected to deliver a report of Uruguay's performance during the second half of 2020, which were focused in advancing the 2019 Mercosur/European Union trade agreement and its legislative ratification.
This will be followed by a round of speeches from delegates of country members and associate countries, and the approval of a joint communiqué from the heads of state from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
At the end of the meeting Uruguay will make the formal transfer of the Mercosur chair to Argentina. Uruguay's president has met with his counterparts of Brazil and Paraguay, and has held talks with them on zoom.
However it was only last 19 November that Argentine president Alberto Fernandez flew for a barbeque to Uruguay and meet with Lacalle Pou. Although there are close friendship links between the two families it was the first time they met as presidents.
Apparently it was an informal meeting, with no fixed agenda, but it is known that Argentina still has some questions about the ratification process while it is in the midst of a severe financial situation and lack of international confidence.
Uruguayan foreign minister Bustillo back from a tour of European countries, Spain, Belgium, Berlin, Paris to try and advance the accord with the EU, was quoted in an interview in Brussels about the current situation. Bustillo said it was time for politicians to leave aside their immediate interests and act as statesmen. We must look at the whole forest instead of the tree, and beyond to ensure that future generation can enjoy the benefits of this great agreement.