Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benítez and Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez discussed bilateral issues in Madrid, particularly the ratification of the Mercosur-European Union trade agreement.
”Presidents Sánchez and Abdo have considered the signing and conclusion of the EU-Mercosur Agreement and the EU- CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) summit as priorities, read a statement from the Spanish government.
My objective during the Spanish Presidency of the EU (in the second half of 2023) will be to reaffirm relations between the EU and Latin America, Sánchez pledged. We want to facilitate a reunion between the two regions, he added.
The trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur has been negotiated for decades. It was signed in 2019 but is far from entering into force because it needs ratification from each European legislature involved, which is still pending following a series of objections, regarding mainly environmental issues, most significantly those between France's President Emmanuel Macron and Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro, whose departure from office is expected to pave the way for a solution.
Before meeting Sánchez, the Paraguayan leader and First Lady Silvana López Moreira were welcomed by King Felipe VI at the Zarzuela Palace, where Abdo expressed his confidence in the great opportunities that the conclusion of the agreement between Mercosur and the EU will bring.
The Paraguayan head of state also praised the current good economic relations and investments between the two countries, thanks to the South American country's conditions of stability.
Spain is the first country in volume of foreign investment” in Paraguay, said the king.
Felipe VI and Abdo also made the news when the royal and the presidential couples engaged in confusing cavorting until a protocol official stepped in and showed everyone where to pose for the photographers.
The scene was cut off from the Spanish royal family's YouTube channel. The presidential couple first stood in the center. King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia did not know what to do as the guests moved forward and backward until help arrived. The hosts were visibly embarrassed, while the South Americans seemed unaware of what had just happened, according to Spanish royal columnists.
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