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EU foreign policy chief warns agricultural crisis may block Mercosur trade deal

Buenos Aires Times | 26 January 2024

EU foreign policy chief warns agricultural crisis may block Mercosur trade deal

The crisis affecting the agricultural sector in many members of the European Union could be an “obstacle” to the approval of the free-trade agreement with Mercosur, he EU’s head of diplomacy Josep Borrell said Thursday

“We have to check whether the current European agricultural crisis is not another obstacle in the way,” said Borrell during a seminar with European and Latin American legislators at the European Parliament.

After two decades of negotiations on that agreement, “now the ball is in Europe’s court. It’s up to us to say whether we want it or not,” stated the Spanish diplomat.

The remarks come amid European scepticism towards the deal. Yet according to Borrell, on the part of Latin American countries, “the willingness to sign the agreement is greater than ever."

Progress in talks between Mercosur and EU negotiators have coincided with a worsening of the crisis and renewed protests by voices from the European agricultural sector.

According to Borrell, “in geopolitics there are no voids, and if our states, our companies and financial institutions leave room, others will make use of it."

At a gathering on Wednesday in Paraguay, the foreign ministers of the Mercosur nation (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia) claimed in a joint statement that the bloc wishes to finalise the agreement with the EU as soon as possible.

“It will be a priority to conclude the pending aspects of the negotiations with the European Union and manage to sign a balanced agreement for both parties at the earliest opportunity,” stated the ministers.

 source: Buenos Aires Times