Argentina: Scholz wants to restart EU-Mercosur negotiations

Scholz wants to get EU-Mercosur negotiations going again

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (l, SPD) and Alberto Angel Fernandez, President of Argentina, hold a press conference after their talks in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. photo

© Kay Nietfeld/dpa

Chancellor Scholz’s state visit to South America is also about economic interests – the EU has been negotiating a trade agreement with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay since 1999

At the start of his trip to Latin America, Chancellor Olaf Scholz urgently called for the deadlocked negotiations on the free trade agreement between the EU and the South American federation Mercosur to be restarted.

“Negotiations have lasted long enough,” said Scholz yesterday (local time) after a meeting with Argentine President Alberto Ángel Fernández in Buenos Aires. “That’s why it’s important that everyone now contributes with a constructive spirit so that we can join hands and find a way to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion soon.”

The EU has been negotiating a trade agreement with Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) since 1999. Although a breakthrough was achieved in 2019, there are still unanswered questions, especially when it comes to protecting the Amazon rainforest. The agreement would create a market of more than 700 million people, covering almost 20 percent of the global economy and 31 percent of global goods exports.

Scholz was optimistic that an agreement could be reached. “I discovered good spirit and goodwill here,” he said. Fernandez said he agreed with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: “We want to push this agreement and make it work. It would benefit Latin America and Mercosur in particular, it would benefit Europe, and it would also strengthen multilateralism in a world that’s about to go bipolar again.” Fernandez pointed out that there were still obstacles. “But our wish is that we can come to an agreement soon and get the deal up and running.”

There have also recently been differences of opinion between the Mercosur countries. Argentina’s left-wing government wants to protect the domestic economy from international competition, while the right-wing governments in Uruguay and Brazil want to remove trade barriers before the change of government there at the turn of the year.


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