Argentina assumed the Pro Tempore presidency of Mercosur on Wednesday to replace Uruguay, after a semester in which the country chaired by Luis Lacalle Pou has led the bloc in a context marked by the effects of the pandemic.
In a virtual ceremony, the leaders of the countries that make up the bloc have highlighted the value of integration at times marked by global concern and uncertainty. The president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández , stressed that Mercosur is the “most important regional political project” for the country, since it is a “state policy.”
“We need more and better Mercosur. I have the dream of a different Mercosur, turned into a flagship of sustainable development, technological innovation and social inclusion ”, he added.
The meeting, in addition to Fernández and Lacalle Pou, was attended by the presidents of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, and of Paraguay, Abdo Benítez. The president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, a country that is in the process of accession, has also participated.
The leaders have reaffirmed their maximum willingness to proceed with the signing of the Association Agreement between Mercosur and the European Union , urging “to overcome the challenges that have prevented the completion of a process of more than 20 years of joint effort for a comprehensive agreement, balanced and ambitious ”.
With regard to other international relations, the countries of the bloc have expressed their interest in concluding negotiations with Canada and have valued the possibility of reaching an agreement in the short term with Lebanon.
The proposal for free trade agreements between Mercosur and the countries of Central America and the Dominican Republic has also been valued .
On the other hand, the participating states in Mercosur have expressed their willingness to advance with the process of accession of Bolivia to the bloc towards the consolidation of the integration of South America.
In addition, the presidents have stressed the importance of advancing in the integration processes and have recalled the next anniversary of Mercosur, which will celebrate its first 30 years of existence on March 26, 2021.