Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou, who holds the pro-tempore presidency of Mercosur, Monday welcomed European Union (EU) High Representative Josep Borrell in Montevideo to discuss the future of the agreement between the two trade blocs.
In a post-meeting message to reporters, Borrell said Europe was willing to give in a little so that an accord that would be mutually beneficial gets underway.
I am a firm believer that this agreement is mutually beneficial, in every trade agreement there are winners and losers because protection is lost and markets are gained, but I believe that this great macro-region that Mercosur represents today with these large economies such as Brazil and Argentina is one of the regions with the highest level of trade protection in the world, Borrell said.
This is set against another large macro-region, the European Union, which is one of the most open to the world and has made the promotion of free trade one of its hallmarks, he added.
According to Borrell, there are the strictly commercial problems and there are also the problems that in economic terms are the externalities, how it affects the ecosystem, in particular the Amazonian ecosystems.
I believe that even for them an agreement is better than no agreement, even for the protection of ecosystems it is better to have mutual obligations, he explained.
Borrell also said he hoped that the European bloc will present its proposal for a clause to strengthen guarantees to combat deforestation and compliance with the Paris Agreements before the end of the year, which would allow the ratification of the trade agreement with Mercosur.
I hope that between now and the end of the year the EU will put on the table the document that raises environmental concerns that have to be shared, it is not that Europeans put homework to Latin Americans, but to work together, Borrell underlined.
Joining Borrell during his press conference was Uruguay's Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo.
The EU's trade agreement with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) was signed in the late 2010s but its ratification is at an impasse due to the reservations of several member states, chiefly France.
Borrell also noted that the upcoming Climate Summit COP27 in Egypt will be a good opportunity to advance toward the treaty's ratification by European countries.
The Spanish diplomat is to travel next to Argentina for the summit of foreign ministers of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which he will co-chair in Buenos Aires.