Rio de Janeiro, Dec 6 (EFE).- The meeting of Mercosur foreign ministers began this Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, where they will discuss the status of negotiations with the European Union (EU) for a trade agreement that has not yet been finalized. come out of the paper due to resistance from both parties.
The session of the Common Market Council, a body that also includes the ministers of Economy of the member states (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), is held behind closed doors at the Museu do Amanhã in Rio, on the eve of the meeting of presidents.
The meeting takes place under the pro tempore presidency of Brazil, which on Thursday will pass the baton to Paraguay.
The Argentine Foreign Minister, Santiago Cafiero, did not travel to Brazil because on Thursday he will be sworn in as a deputy in his country and the Secretary of International Economic Relations, Cecilia Todesca, came in his place.
The summit comes at a delicate moment for the South American bloc founded in 1991, with economic cracks due to the historical asymmetries between its partners and with the free trade agreement with the European Union at a standstill.
The EU and Mercosur have been negotiating to create a common market of 700 million people for more than two decades.
On June 28, 2019, they reached a political agreement with several open points, but since then various demands on both sides of the Atlantic have muddied the negotiating process.
In recent months they have achieved “significant progress”, although the frontal rejection of several European countries, led by France, and the reluctance of Argentina, on the eve of the inauguration of its new president, Javier Milei, have prevented the final signing this year. , according to Brazilian sources.
The agricultural chapter and the environmental requirements of the EU are the great points of friction.
At this LXIII Mercosur Summit, the promulgation of the accession protocol of Bolivia as a full member is also planned, after its ratification, on November 28, by the Brazilian Parliament, which was the last remaining of the four partners. .
In addition, the bloc hopes to sign a free trade agreement with Singapore in Rio and formalize negotiations with the Dominican Republic and El Salvador. EFE