‘It would be historic mistake not to ratify EU-Mercosur agreement’

  • Lusa
  • 1 October 2021

Prime minister António Costa stressed on Friday that the ratification of the EU-Mercosur Agreement is decisive for both exporters and investors in the European Union.

The prime minister, António Costa, on Friday considered that it would be a historic mistake not to go ahead with the ratification of the EU-Mercosur Agreement, “the largest economic and trade agreement on a global scale”.

“It would be a historic mistake not to go ahead with the ratification of an agreement [EU-Mercosur] that has the potential to create a market of almost 800 million people, particularly when combined with the modernisation of the agreements with Mexico and Chile,” he said at the close of the La Toja Forum in Galicia, Spain.

Its implementation would give a signal that the European Union remains open to the world, after the important agreements concluded with Canada and Japan, as well as the negotiations with India, he said.

Costa stressed that Mercosur is decisive for both exporters and investors in the European Union.

“It is an area of 260 million consumers and a market for more than 60,000 EU companies. Before the pandemic started, EU exports to Mercosur represented more than €40 billion in goods and more than €20 billion in services. The European Union is also the largest external investor in Mercosur, with a stock of nearly 400 billion euros,” he said.

Portugal and Spain provide access to the European Union’s market of 500 million consumers and have been the most active voices in defence of the EU-Mercosur agreement, he stressed.

The Prime Minister also spoke of the need for a Europe that is “strong and open to the world”.

He added that the European Union should not close in on itself or become dispensable as a partner or ally.

“The stronger and more cohesive the EU is, the more relevant it will also be for the United States and for other partners. The EU does not have to be strong to survive alone, but to be a global actor in the multipolar world”, he stressed.

Costa also said that in terms of defence, the EU should strengthen its capabilities, but not in terms of isolation or duplication of resources in relation to NATO.

NATO must learn from the events in Afghanistan and define its new Strategic Concept, which should be approved at the Madrid Summit next year, he warned.

The La Toja Forum, which started on Wednesday and ended today, brought together politicians, thinkers and businessmen and had as its theme for this 2021 edition “An Opportunity to Relaunch the Atlantic Link”.

Among the various speakers was the Portuguese Minister of foreign affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, who defended the need for Europe to be more autonomous, owner of its destiny and open to the world, and pointed out dangers and threats of confrontation and division.