Argentina's Secretary for International Economic Relations, Jorge Neme, and the Secretary for European Affairs of Portugal, Ana Paula Zacarias - who currently are the semi-annual presidents of Mercosur and the EU Council, respectively - agreed that the entry into force of the EU-Mercosur agreement will promote the growth of trade between the EU and the bloc made by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
Neme highlighted the need to conclude the pending issues regarding geographical indications and to face the environmental issue linked to a process of sustainable development of the economies.
He also raised the need to approve a declaration on the question of the Malvinas Islands, an archipelago under British rule that Argentina claims is theirs, as one of the central issues to be able to close the pending issues of the bi-regional agreement.
There's a will for consensus
Neme and Zacarias met online and agreed on the need to advance during the rotating presidencies that both countries exercise in each bloc to reach the pending agreements.
To do this, they committed to maintain a fluid dialogue and lead the exchange of positions of both blocks to achieve the necessary consensus.
Last Thursday, the high representative for EU Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, made a call so that the trade and association agreement with Mercosur isn't thrown out the window. He also asked the parties involved to make an effort to approximate positions, despite the existence of background obstacles.
"Currently, there are well-founded fears that some European countries and the European Parliament itself would not ratify this agreement," Borrell stated. However, he said he was confident the Portuguese presidency could have a strong influence to promote the agreement.
The ratification of the agreement with Mercosur is paralyzed, among other things, because France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria have asked for a reinforcement of environmental controls, as they are concerned about the deforestation of the Amazon caused by the policies of the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro.