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EU-Mercosur, Nova sources: Brussels awaits Argentina's position for the signing of the bilateral agreement

The 27 countries of the European Union and the four countries of the Southern Common Market (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) reached an agreement in principle in mid-2019, but the texts have not been signed or ratified by their respective parliaments


© Agenzia Nova - Reproduction reserved

The European Commission awaits news from the member countries of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) to proceed with the signing of the bilateral agreement with the EU. This is what has been learned from "Agenzia Nova" sources, according to which, in particular, to "unblock" the signature we are waiting to understand what the position of the new Argentine government led by president-elect Javier Milei, ready to take office on 10 December, will be. According to what "Agenzia Nova" learned, the visit of the Vice President of the European Commission and EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis to Brazil for the signing of the agreement was not cancelled, but only postponed as we are still far from concluding all the necessary details. Consequently, according to the sources interviewed, compared to what was reported yesterday by the British newspaper "Financial Times", Dombrovskis' trip would have been postponed as the agreement was not yet "close to the conclusion". The same sources also confirm that on the European side there is satisfaction with the progress of the talks.

Even the spokesperson of the European Commission for Trade, Olof Gill, interviewed by "Agenzia Nova" explained that "the EU and Mercosur are engaged in intense and constructive discussions in order to finalize a political, cooperation and commercial agreement. Substantial progress has been made in recent months, with both sides committed to reaching an agreement that effectively addresses climate issues and promotes a fair and green transition on both sides, for the benefit of our peoples." For this reason, added the spokesperson, "the negotiations will continue in a constructive spirit with the ambition of concluding as quickly as possible".

The 27 countries of the European Union and the four of the Southern Common Market (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) reached an agreement in principle in mid-2019, but the texts - not definitive - have not been signed nor ratified by their respective parliaments. Negotiations of what could become the largest trade agreement for both blocs began in 1999 and resumed in 2013, after years of stalemate linked to political circumstances. In 2018, after a new round of negotiations held in Uruguay, the negotiations were interrupted mainly due to the resistance put up by farmers in France and Ireland. Pressed by producers, French President Emmanuel Macron said that Paris would never sign a text in which South American products raised by tariffs were not subject to environmental standards. The general agreement reached at the G20 in Osaka, Japan, in June 2019, was followed by a further slowdown due to the fears of some European capitals regarding the environmental policies of the former president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. The election of Lula da Silva, who has made environmental protection one of his political flags, has accelerated the negotiations. However, even the Lula government is showing resistance to taking on new commitments.

The finalization of the trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur turned out to be more thorny than expected. Lula's return to the presidency of Brazil, after the coldness shown by several European capitals towards Jair Bolsonaro, had motivated the government of Spain - which assumes the rotating presidency of the Union - to bet on an accelerated closure of the agreement, perhaps taking advantage of the EU-Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (Celac) summit scheduled to take place in Brussels in mid-July. But the proposals coming from the Twenty-Seven to unblock the still pending issues were also rejected by Lula. The points of friction between the two blocs arise from the significant limitations imposed by the EU on South American countries.

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