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Montevideo, May 23rd 2024 - 09:37 UTC

 

 

Fernández, von der Leyen discuss EU-Mercosur ties

Wednesday, June 14th 2023 - 09:12 UTC
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“We have a window of opportunity to conclude the agreement,” von der Leyen said in a post-meeting joint press conference. “We have a window of opportunity to conclude the agreement,” von der Leyen said in a post-meeting joint press conference.

Argentine President Alberto Fernández met Tuesday at Casa Rosada with European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen to discuss the South American country's trade relations with the European Union (EU), as well as the Mercosur-EU agreement ahead of next month's Summit with CELAC in Brussels.

“Europe is an extraordinary partner for Argentina,” Fernández said in a post-meeting statement to the press. The EU “is the largest foreign investor in the country and we must deepen this link,” he added.

The South American leader also explained that during the encounter it was possible to discuss projects that “Argentina has within Mercosur, which are of interest to the EU, and which fundamentally have to do with energy development.” He also highlighted “the possibility of Europe becoming more actively involved in adding value to lithium production through the production of batteries, in the exploitation of copper and green hydrogen, and in the implementation of gas liquefaction plants.”

“We want an agreement with the European Union that balances the economies of each of the regions and that takes into account the asymmetries that objectively exist in order to preserve the development of our region,” Fernández also said.

He also stressed the importance of the new regulations derived from the EU Green Pact being made within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and based on scientific evidence, in order to ensure that they do not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination, or a disguised restriction to international trade.

Regarding the Mercosur-EU agreement, Von der Leyen assured that both blocs share “the same values and we are economic partners that we can trust each other.”

“From Mercosur, we have worked to present to the EU the requirements that Mercosur makes to put an end to the imbalances or asymmetries that exist between both economies and we need to clarify to preserve the development of our region,” Fernández also pointed out.

“We want an agreement with the European Union but one that takes into account the asymmetries of the economies of the region, otherwise, it might not benefit Mercosur,” he added.

The president insisted there was a “political will” to sign the postponed agreement between Mercosur and the European Union (EU) and clarified that “we only ask for a balanced agreement, where we all win”.

“We all have the will to want to reach an agreement. The obstacles are within us and we have to start removing them. It is not so difficult to remove them if the political will exists. And it exists on our side. We only ask for a balanced agreement, where we all win,” Stressed Fernández.

Von der Leyen said Argentina “knows more than anyone else how crucial it is to protect the rights and freedoms for which much has been fought for.” She also thanked the country's “unwavering support” to the region, in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. “War has an impact on the international economy and is a threat to the principles of international rights. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your unwavering support,” Von der Leyen said in the joint statement, in which she noted that “it is time to take the economic partnership to the next level.”

“It would be important” that the Mercosur-EU agreement could be signed before the end of the year, she also noted. “My objective would be that we do everything possible to conclude it as soon as possible. We want to set ourselves an ambitious goal, for example, that at the latest before the end of the year, the political agreement is signed. We have a window of opportunity to conclude the agreement,” she said.

Fernández currently holds the pro tempore presidency of the South American trade bloc.

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