Friday, May 24, 2024

LATIN AMERICA | 12-04-2024 09:41

EU commission expresses 'frustration' over stalled EU-Mercosur trade deal

European parliamentary delegation responsible for relations with Mercosur has failed to seal deal, much to the “frustration” of EU lawmakers.

A parliamentary delegation of European lawmakers has expressed its “frustration” over the inability to seal the ambitious EU-Mercosur trade deal.

“We must express our frustration because, during this legislature, it wasn’t possible to close the negotiation for the European Union’s deal with Mercosur,” said Spanish EU deputy Jordi Cañas, the president of the commission.

According to the legislator, “the main responsibility for failing to conclude this agreement in a timely fashion falls on the European Union and all its institutions.”

A new European Parliament will be formed after the upcoming June 6-9 elections and Cañas said changes to the legislature could alter things. He expressed his expectation though that “in the next legislature, some key players will be responsible again.”

The EU’s institutions, he said, “have not risen to the challenge of what it meant to ratify a deal of the scale” of this project.

In the session last Thursday, the commission submitted a 11-page report based on the results of a parliamentary mission team’s visit to Argentina, which took place on December 18 to 21 last year.

The agreement between the EU and Mercosur seemed close to being concluded in late 2023, but this year those hopes have been reduced and replaced by uncertainty amid a wave of protests by European farmers against the deal. 

Ever since, meetings on then deal have been merely about technical matters.

An agreement was first announced in 2019 after more than two decades of talks. But since then, the EU has started demanding additional chapters and clauses be inserted, in particular those referring to environmental protection and quality standards. Mercosur countered and made fresh demands of its own.

“Following logic and legitimacy, Mercosur also demanded specific modifications of the agreement to meet its needs, which are also valid,” said Cañas on Thursday.

In January, the foreign ministers of Mercosur member states issued a joint statement defending the deal and calling for its signing as soon as possible.

The EU-Mercosur agreement would create a market comprising nearly 800 million people.


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