The pandemic is over. Jair Bolsonaro, too. Thus, without excuses, the presidents of the four Mercosur countries will meet this Tuesday for the first time in four years in a face-to-face meeting. Once the times of confinement and virtual summits and Bolsonaro’s ignoring the trade bloc that unites Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay have been overcome, the great challenge is to close once and for all the association agreement with the European Union (EU). .
“In this time of uncertainty, we have to strengthen ourselves as a bloc and narrow the development gaps, because in today’s world we have that challenge as a region and that is achieved through more integration and not less. We are not going to achieve anything if we we disintegrate and isolate ourselves. We need more integration“, said the Argentine Foreign Minister, Santiago Cafiero, when inaugurating this Monday the Summit at the level of foreign ministers.
No one could disagree with Cafiero’s words: the four countries need to reduce development gaps and not isolate themselves. The problem in what Cafiero says is, as is the case with the cumbersome association agreement between Mercosur and the EU, in the “fine print”.
Argentina, which relinquishes the presidency at this summit for the time of Mercosur to Brazil for the next six months, believes that an agreement with the EU “can be an effective vehicle to catalyze investments”, but the government of Alberto Fernández demands to review what was signed between the two blocs in 2018 by former president Mauricio Macri . That was a political agreement to which the technical aspects had to follow, but that of which the devil is in the details was confirmed as very true.
“In order to materialize these potentialities and for the agreement to have good results for both parties, it is necessary to work on and update the 2019 texts. The Mercosur-EU Agreement, as it was closed in 2019, reflects an unequal effort between asymmetric blocks and does not respond to the current international scenario,” said Cafiero.