brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva I consider “urgent and extremely necessary” that he mercosur close an agreement with the European Unionbefore negotiating a treaty with Chinaduring a visit to Uruguaya country that is advancing trade negotiations with Beijing on its own.
“It is urgent and extremely necessary for Mercosur to reach an agreement with the EU”, exhorted Lula after meeting with his Uruguayan counterpart Luis Lacalle Pou.
“We are going to intensify our discussions with the EU and sign that agreement so that we can immediately discuss an agreement between China and Mercosur. I think it’s possible”, added the visitor, who arrived at the presidential residence accompanied by his wife Rosangela.
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Uruguay began negotiations with Beijing and asked to enter the Trans-Pacific Agreement without the consent of its Mercosur partners, generating tensions and warnings from Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay that the bloc could crack.
However, Lacalle Pou was clear in pointing out that “We belong to Mercosur and we have that vocation unchanged.”
“No one escapes the economic and demographic weight of Brazil (…) and if there is a decision by President Lula to move forward with China, we can move forward”he stressed.
“Uruguay has its dialogue with China” and “Brazil will surely deepen other paths, and we will get together and say (…) Uruguay folds”he added.
Montevideo has been demanding greater flexibility from Mercosur for years, as well as trade opening, a claim that Lula considered “more than fair”.
“It is fair to want to produce more and want to sell more. That’s why an opening is important.” pointed out, while saying he was “totally agree” with renewing Mercosur “everything that is necessary”.
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Despite the fact that Lacalle Pou said that the meeting with Lula generated “optimism”, the tensions within the block are installed.
The partners have made it clear that the Uruguayan position of promoting agreements with third parties violates the founding statutes of Mercosur, created in 1991, and they even threatened Montevideo with legal and commercial measures.
Uruguay considers that Argentina and Brazil have already adopted bilateral measures within the bloc such as reductions in the Common External Tariff and maintains that other founding postulates, such as establishing a customs union or a common market, have not been fulfilled.
Lacalle Pou recalled at a press conference in Buenos Aires that “the definition” to open their country’s trade to third parties was adopted in Uruguay several governments ago.
On Monday, Argentine Economy Minister Sergio Massa, together with his Brazilian counterpart Fernando Haddad, said that “Uruguay is one of the younger brothers of Mercosur and Brazil and Argentina have the responsibility of taking care of it like any younger brother.”
Asked about this statement, Lacalle Pou replied that the vision raised from the other bank of the Río de la Plata “It looks like Disneyland.”
Support for the opposition
After the meeting with Lacalle Pou, Lula went to a meeting with the mayor of Montevideo, Carolina Cosse, one of the main figures of the left-wing opposition coalition Frente Amplio (FA).
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The Brazilian received a medal for his contribution to the environment from Cosse, in a public ceremony from a balcony of the City Hall, on the central 18 de Julio avenue.
He celebrated gender parity by noting that “A woman engineer runs this city.”
Some three thousand people, many with insignia of supporters of the Uruguayan FA or the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT), gathered to greet Lula at the doors of the municipal building, spilling onto Avenida 18 de Julio, which was cut off by the event. .
In a speech from inside the Municipal Palace transmitted by loudspeakers, Lula said that he had visited Lacalle Pou and before the whistles that this statement generated, he indicated that “I don’t care who the president is (…) if he is from the right, left or center” well it should “treat the head of any state with respect.”
Then Lula left for the farm in Rincón del Cerro of his friend, former president José Mujica (2010-2015).
The meetings with Frente Amplista referents caused discomfort in some members of the government, as they were seen as strong support for the opposition in a pre-electoral year.
“It represents an act of internal politics by establishing a clear preference over a certain political party in the country,” expressed the opinion of former president Julio María Sanguinetti (1985-1990, 1995-2000) in statements to the local newspaper El País.
Sanguinetti was part of the Uruguayan entourage at Lula’s inauguration in Brasilia on January 1, along with Lacalle and Mujica, in a gesture of republican coexistence highly praised both in the country and abroad.
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