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Montevideo, May 19th 2022 - 02:37 UTC

 

 

EU Ambassador to Uruguay on trade agreement with Mercosur: “It is something that European citizens are asking their governments for”

Friday, May 6th 2022 - 10:55 UTC
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After more than 20 years of negotiations, progress is being made towards its entry into force. After more than 20 years of negotiations, progress is being made towards its entry into force.

The ambassador of the European Union (EU) in Uruguay, Paolo Berizzi, said he was “optimistic” about the agreement between the bloc he represents and Mercosur. After more than 20 years of negotiations, Berizzi said he believes that this year there will be progress for its entry into force.

The Association Agreement between the EU and Mercosur was signed in 2019 but has not yet entered into force because it depends on the legislative ratification of all those involved and there are European countries that doubt the environmental commitments of nations of the South American bloc. However, with the current armed conflict in Europe following the Russian invasion in Ukraine, there are voices that have been less reluctant to reach an agreement.

In a context of soaring energy prices and rising food commodities, the European Union is seeking to revive the agreement with Mercosur. The bloc's ambassador to Argentina, Amador Sánchez Rico, said last week, “If we don't push it now, we will never do it.”

“I think there will be progress this year and progress for sure next year. I think that if you ask me the same question in a year's time I will be much more concrete,” Berizzi said on Thursday in Montevideo.

The ambassador visited this Thursday the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Uruguay (Camacoes), where he gave a lecture on “trade policy as part of the foreign policy of the European Union”, according to EFE.

He said that they are working on a joint declaration that can respond to a fundamental European requirement: “the demand to respect environmental rules”.

“It is an issue that interests other countries more than Uruguay, but it is very important because it is not a European whim, it is something that European citizens ask their governments, their politicians to insist a lot on that issue”, he added.

On the other hand, Berizzi explained Europe's vision of the way Latin America reacted to “Russia's military aggression against Ukraine”.

“The condemnation in the United Nations of what Russia did was almost unanimous and if one looks at the continents, Latin America and the Caribbean is where Europe and the Western powers found the most allies in condemning Russia. This has not gone unnoticed in Brussels”, expressed the diplomat who was stationed in Kiev between 2004 and 2006.

On the other hand, the ambassador spoke about “the transformation of the world economy in a greener direction” and assured that this is “a question of survival”.

“South America, if you look at the Southern Cone and think about what is different from the rest of the world, I would say biodiversity, water, forests. It is the part of the world that has more of these things. I think it is also the part of the world that would be more interested in defending biodiversity at a global level”, he pointed out.

Finally, he spoke about the situation in Uruguay and said that European investments there, with a presence of more than 400 companies, reach 40%.

“I believe that investment in Uruguay will continue to increase, it is quite natural”, said Berizzi, who added that reliability, the rule of law, being a regional leader in democracy and human rights are issues that matter to investors.

At Camacoes, the Italian spoke alongside the chamber's president, Andrés Burghi, and the Spanish ambassador to Uruguay, José Javier Gómez-Llera y García-Nava.

With information from EFE

 

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