Despite all, Mercosur is “working normally”, says Paraguayan foreign minister
25 April 2014
Paraguay’s foreign minister Eladio Loizaga said that there is no date for the several times suspended Mercosur summit, but a technical meeting is scheduled for next week in Montevideo when the issue, among others will be addressed. Nevertheless he insisted that the different bodies of Mercosur “are working normally”.
Loizaga admits that the summit to be hosted by Venezuela is still in the air Loizaga admits that the summit to be hosted by Venezuela is still in the air
Minister Loizaga had anticipated that the December summit, suspended several times, should be held before next June because that is what the chair-calendar of the group indicates, but admitted that “Venezuela, which should host the pending summit, is facing a situation that impedes so far the organization of the event”.
However, “technical talks for a joint Mercosur position in negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Union are continuing, next week there’s a meeting in Montevideo, and I can assure you that the rest of the organization is working normally”.
But the fact is that since the launching of the trade block in 1991, the Mercosur Council and the Mercosur summit have not met for almost a year. The last time was in July 2013 in Montevideo.
Paraguay is anxious for the pending summit to take place because since Mercosur lifted the country’s suspension in August 2013, the newly elected president Horacio Cartes has been unable to meet formally with his Mercosur peers and partners. Besides Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff last February announced that the following Mercosur chair (after Venezuela) —and currently running— would be assigned to Paraguay.
“The fact that the summit is pending, an unprecedented event, reflects the ongoing trade problems among Mercosur members”, said Mario Paz Castaing, a Paraguayan international relations professor and a former foreign ministry advisor, adding that “this has paralyzed Mercosur and there is little interest in promoting the group’s institutions”.
“Argentina has serious trade problems with Brazil, and there are conditions that Argentina is demanding which the European Union does not accept, regarding talks for the ambitions EU/Mercosur trade and cooperation accord”, said Paz Castaing who underlined “it’s the right moment to look into other integration mechanisms such as the Pacific Alliance”.