Costa acknowledged that "there is progress among Mercosur countries" and that, in principle, the response that will be presented to the European Union is already prepared.
Portugal’s prime minister on Tuesday defended the importance of Portugal and Brazil bringing the European Union (EU) and Mercosur countries closer together and considered Lula da Silva to be “the champion of the fight against climate change”.
“I have spoken several times over these intense hours with the president of Brazil about Mercosur […] and how both Portugal and Brazil can help bring Mercosur and the EU closer together,” António Costa said at a press conference before the end of the summit between the EU and the countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Brussels.
Asked about the trade agreement with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela that failed in 2019, Costa said that the political framework in Brazil was different at the time and that the president at that time, Jair Bolsonaro, “had no commitment to climate change, whose existence he denied”.
Venezuela has been suspended from this agreement since 2017 for non-compliance, including the internalisation of tariff regulations.
“Today, the president of Brazil is the champion of the defence of the Amazon, the champion of the fight against deforestation, the champion of the fight against climate change,” he added.
Costa acknowledged that “there is progress among Mercosur countries” and that, in principle, the response that will be presented to the European Union is already prepared.
The aim, he added, is for the agreement to be possible by the end of the year, still under the Spanish presidency of the EU Council.
Next Sunday, there are legislative elections in Spain, but in António Costa’s opinion, a possible change in the composition of the government will not jeopardise the agreement with Mercosur.
“I am sure that Spain’s position on Mercosur is a position of state that will not change even if there is a change in the composition of the government,” he said.
The EU-Mercosur protocol covers 25% of the global economy and 780 million people, almost 10% of the world’s population.
The trade agreement was established by the parties in 2019 when negotiations were finalised, but its ratification is stalled because of environmental reservations and also trade fears of some European countries.
As a whole, the Latin American and Caribbean region is responsible for more than 50% of the planet’s biodiversity and accounts for 14% of global food production and 45% of the net international agri-food trade. It is also a powerhouse for renewable energy, with alternative sources accounting for around 60% of the region’s energy mix.
Spain takes over the presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2023.