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Montevideo, April 23rd 2024 - 07:45 UTC



Argentina and Brazil “blocking” Mercosur's progress, Uruguayan President says

Monday, March 4th 2024 - 10:58 UTC
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It was Lacalle's last March 2 message to Parliament as head of state  It was Lacalle's last March 2 message to Parliament as head of state

President Luis Lacalle Pou told his country's Parliament Saturday that Uruguay needed to open up to the world. In his last accountability for the year speech as head of state before Parliament, he also singled out Argentina and Brazil for “blocking” Mercosur agreements and insisted on the importance of achieving fiscal goals, low inflation, employment growth, educational transformation, and making the regional bloc more flexible.

 “Everyone knows that the advances in terms of agreements with blocs and other countries have not been what one would have liked,” Lacalle explained. “There is no doubt in my mind that Mercosur's challenge is to open up to the world,” Lacalle pointed out. Argentina and Brazil are “holding us back from advancing in bilateral agreements, for example with China,” he added.

Every March 2 since 2021, Lacalle spoke at the Legislative Palace in Montevideo even though this is not mandatory. In addition to sitting lawmakers, also present Saturday was former two-time President Julio María Sanguinetti of the Colorado Party, a key ally in Lacalle's Multicolor coalition.

Despite his differences with Argentina, Lacalle praised the understanding with the Libertarian administration of Javier Milei for the widening and deepening of the access channel to the Port of Montevideo to 14 meters. Regarding Brazil, “with the Bolsonaro government, we reached an agreement on free trade zones. And with Lula's government, we also achieved things.”

Lacalle also underlined that the month before he took office unemployment stood at 10.5% because 50,000 jobs were destroyed between 2015 and 2020. “We have a historical record today of jobs. Our government generated almost 80,000 jobs. It recovered the 50,000 and generated almost 30,000 jobs”, he pointed out. He added that the real salary in December 2023 had grown by 4 % compared to the same month of the previous year and grew by 2 % compared to 2019. “These figures are not the result of chance,” he underlined. Uruguay's compliance with the law and medium- and long-term policies in a “changing and turbulent” world lure investors to the country..

He also underscored the so-called Law of Urgent Consideration (LUC) and his administration's management of the Covid-19 pandemic. “The LUC generated and expanded freedoms and was also the basis of the most important reforms carried out by this government,” he said.

In Lacalle's view, the LUC spelled a contraction of the presence of the State on many fronts. “If Uruguayans are freer today, or when the government ends, than they were when it began, we will have accomplished the task,” he also argued.

“Since the beginning of this government, we had to make a decision with the arrival of the pandemic. Had the choice been different, we would still be living [with] the negative consequences to this day. That decision was a mandatory quarantine requested and proclaimed by political and trade union leaders of our country,” he added.

“We can say that there is a strong growth in employment, that there is progress in the reform agenda, that there are more resources poured into society, that we have the lowest country risk in our history, that there has been a drop in taxes, that the fiscal goals are met and that we have the lowest inflation in the last 18 years”, he also pointed out. “Today there is trust and there is hope”, explained Lacalle Pou.

Lacalle Pou also admitted his administration's shortcomings in security matters but acknowledged that “for the first time in many years the upward trend of crime” has reversed and “today it is a downward trend.” He noted that thefts dropped by almost 20%, robberies by 27%, cattle rustling by 50%, vehicle theft by 24% and homicides by 3%.


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  • imoyaro

    Well well well, fancy that!

    Mar 04th, 2024 - 07:45 pm 0
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