The European Union hopes to sign a free trade agreement with the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) by July, Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said on Monday in Mexico City.
“I hope we can do it before the next summit with Latin America on 17-18 July in Brussels,” Timmermans told French news agency AFP on the last day of a tour of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. “I would like us to be able to do this before the end of the Swedish presidency (30 June, editor’s note).
European leaders “have an urgent duty to get the EU/Mercosur agreement across the finish line,” he added.
Timmermans, who is the Commission vice-president in charge of international climate negotiations, said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, currently in Brazil, as well as European Council President Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron, could travel to Latin America.
“Our goal is to finally reach a rapid conclusion,” Chancellor Scholz had said during an earlier stop in Buenos Aires.
The draft agreement, reached in June 2019 after 20 years of negotiations, was never ratified due to concerns in Europe over the environmental policies of then Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Negotiated by the European Commission on behalf of EU countries, the treaty will still need to be ratified by the parliaments of the 27 member States.
“I think there are new arguments on the table,” continued Timmermans, who met in Brazil with the new environment minister, Marina Silva, a leading figure in the fight against global warming.