Mercosur
Uruguay threatens to break away from Mercosur if flexibility is not achieved
The Argentine Foreign Ministry maintains that Uruguay is in breach of the Treaty of Asuncion. The presidents will meet tomorrow.

A day before the Mercosur presidents' summit, Uruguay is once again straining relations with Argentina in the face of resistance to make the bloc more flexible.

Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo and the Uruguayan Economy Minister present at the Common Market Council meeting informed of the decision to begin negotiations outside the zone.

The relaxation of the bloc is a goal pursued by the government of Luis Lacalle Pou, which has Bolsonaro as an ally, but the rejection of Alberto Fernández. These differences generated a challenge during the last meeting in Buenos Aires, which was prepared to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the bloc, but ended with the Uruguayan head of state calling Mercosur a "burden." Alberto's response was direct: "If we are a burden, get off the boat."

The debate is going nowhere with Brazil and Uruguay in favor of the relaxation but Argentina rejecting the opening, with the support of Paraguay, with whom Casa Rosada managed to design an alliance based on the supply of vaccines against the coronavirus.

It was Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo, and the Uruguayan Minister of Economy, at the Council of the Common meeting, who informed of the decision to begin negotiations outside the zone

The government has toned down the statement and understands that it is part of Uruguay's strategy to continue pursuing the opening of the bloc. Sources questioned by LPO said that "tomorrow the presidents will define how everything will proceed" and revealed that the Uruguayan statement was not well received among the leaders, including Brazil's, and when questioned by his peers about the reason for sending such a statement, Bustillo acknowledged that "it was due to pressure from the Argentine media that they insistently asked if Uruguay was going to break away from the bloc." "Lacalle Pou is engaging in domestic politics by addressing this issue," they added.


"We consider that Uruguay is in breach of the Treaty of Asuncion," the spokespersons told LPO.

What Uruguay really wants is to move forward with an agreement with China, which is not possible by consensus because Paraguay does not recognize the Asian giant. To legally justify the decision, Lacalle Pou says that resolution 32/00 of year 2000 - which prevents agreements with third parties without the bloc's consensus - was never internalized. Argentina and Paraguay disagree.

The industrial sectors of the Mercosur countries are against Lacalle Pou's plan. The Mercosur Industrial Council (CIM) made a Joint Declaration in agreement with the Argentine Industrial Union (UIA), together with the National Industry Confederation (CNI), the Paraguayan Industrial Union (UIP) and the Chamber of Industries of Uruguay (CIU).

The CIM expressed concern over the possibility that decisions that negatively impact the regional productive sector may be adopted.

The entities stated in the declaration that the bloc "must articulate with the productive sector as a strategic axis." At the same time, the CIM expressed "concern about the possibility that decisions that negatively impact the regional productive sector may be adopted."

This Thursday, Argentina will hand over the rotating presidency to Brazil, while Uruguay believes that these six months may be key to meeting that goal. 

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