In a strong plea for progress on the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Mercosur, Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou demanded an end to decades of fruitless negotiations, urging the involved parties to reach an agreement.
During his participation in the summit between the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) on Tuesday, President Lacalle Pou expressed his frustration, saying, Enough of words from 25 years of negotiation. It's difficult for me to explain to my teenage children that we have spent a quarter of a century trying to come to an agreement in a world that has changed so much.
The Uruguayan leader acknowledged the positive momentum in the efforts to reach an agreement between Mercosur and the European Union in today's fast-paced and interconnected world. He emphasized the importance of rebuilding trust, stating, Confidence generates hope, and hope moves individuals and humanity forward in our world.
However, President Lacalle Pou also took the opportunity to highlight Uruguay's accomplishments in areas such as strong democratic standards, human development, environmental stewardship, institutional strength, and adherence to the rule of law. He expressed pride in these achievements, which have positioned his country to approach international meetings with open arms and a welcoming attitude.
While recognizing the necessity for countries to protect their citizens, President Lacalle Pou cautioned against excessive protectionism. He stressed the need for swift decision-making in the face of a rapidly evolving world, stating, We all have a duty to protect our fellow citizens; that is our vocation and the reason we were elected. However, I believe we have a precious opportunity, in my case speaking on behalf of my country and as its President, in this world that demands swift action.
During the summit between the EU and Celac in Brussels, both the European Union and Mercosur reaffirmed their commitment to finalizing the association agreement reached in 2019. The parties expressed their determination to address all outstanding issues in accordance with each side's priorities and concerns, aiming to achieve the agreement's celebration before the end of 2023.
The urgency conveyed by President Luis Lacalle Pou reflects the growing impatience among leaders for concrete progress on the long-debated EU-Mercosur trade deal. As the discussions continue, the hopes of many are set on reaching a resolution that will foster stronger economic ties and cooperation between the two blocs.
With information from EFE