Despite 'frictions', agreement between EU-Mercosur can be beneficial for both, says researcher

Brazil took over the presidency of the Mercosur this Tuesday (4) with new criticisms from Lula of European proposal

Brasil de Fato | São Paulo (Brazil) |
Lula and the President of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, during the Mercosur summit's official photo - Nelson Almeida / AFP

The South American countries have resistance and the Europeans also have their reticence, but the agreement between Mercosur and the European Union can get off the ground and can be good for both. This is the assessment of International Relations professor at the School of Higher Education in Advertising and Marketing (ESPM) Denilde Holzhacker, in an interview with Brasil de Fato.

This Tuesday (4), during the 62nd Summit of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) and Associated Countries, in Puerto Iguazú, Argentina, Brazil took over the presidency of the South American bloc. During his speech at the event, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers' Party) once again criticized the clauses that the European Union wants to incorporate into the agreement with Mercosur.

"The Additional Instrument presented by the European Union in March this year is unacceptable. Strategic partners do not negotiate based on distrust and the threat of sanctions. It is imperative that Mercosur presents a quick and forceful response," he said in the speech.

Holzhacker points out that since the presidential campaign, Lula has expressed his dissatisfaction with the agreement. For her, however, the negotiations are currently in the phase of trimming the edges and the partnership can be concluded.

"We are going to enter a new phase, there is a new round of negotiations. For the Europeans, it is important to sign the agreement, it would be a strategy to contain and manage to maintain their market in the face of the dispute with China. And, on the other hand, for Brazil it would also be very important because with that we can advance in new agreements. We have a list of agreements being negotiated," said the researcher in an interview with Central do Brasil.

Difficult return

And Venezuela has returned to the center of discussions. During the Mercosur summit, the presidents of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, and Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, criticized the country governed by Nicolás Maduro.

"It is clear that Venezuela will not emerge into a healthy democracy, and when there are indications of the possibility of an election, a candidate like Maria Corina Machado, who has enormous potential, is disqualified for political reasons, not legal ones," said Lacalle Pou.

Venezuelans are suspended from Mercosur and Denilde Holzhacker assesses that, despite Brazil's presidency in the bloc, it is "difficult" at the moment to envision the return of Caracas.

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"In that first moment, it is quite difficult and it is exactly because of the position of Uruguay, which has a very opposite position. And since everything has to happen by consensus, Venezuela would have to make a great effort to demonstrate that it is carrying out a democratic process and that it will guarantee fair elections, and the role of the opposition," says the ESPM professor.

Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay are currently the only full members of Mercosur. Other countries in the region are part of the bloc as associated countries. Bolivia, which is accompanying the summit in Argentina with its president Luis Arce, is in the process of joining Mercosur. Brazil expressed interest in accelerating the process of entry of Bolivians into Mercosur.

Edited by: Nicolau Soares