Senior EU diplomat begins Latin America tour to strengthen bilateral and regional ties

BUENOS AIRES

The EU’s top diplomat has started his official tour of Latin America in Uruguay, as the EU seeks to strengthen bilateral and regional ties.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell visited the Uruguayan capital on Monday, meeting President Luis Lacalle Pou and Vice-President Beatriz Argimon, as the EU and Mercosur negotiate an agreement commercial.

“We remain committed to this agreement and in the coming months I hope that before the end of the year we will raise the additional elements that will allow this agreement to move forward,” Borrell said.

According to the newspaper el Observador, there are doubts about the environmental impact of the agreement, with Borrell pushing for “mutual obligations” to protect ecosystems, insisting that “we can continue without an agreement, but that will entail the intervention of other economic actors”.

However, Borrell insisted that the “strategic agreement” would be a “win-win” for both sides, opening up trade to the region, providing “real opportunities” for businesses on both sides, fostering business opportunities. employment and benefiting “more than 700 million people”. .”

The diplomat added that it would be the biggest trade agreement concluded by the EU in terms of tariffs.

Borrell also raised the issue of the Russian-Ukrainian war, thanking Uruguay for “condemning this invasion”.

The diplomat highlighted the role of strategic alliances in “turbulent times, noting the threats of war and “the crisis of multilateralism” and insisting that the first thing he did upon arriving in the Uruguayan capital was to call Ukraine.

While in Montevideo, Borrell also met with Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo.

The diplomat also stressed that Uruguay and the EU share “the same political model and a similar social model” and “the values ​​of respect for democracy, the rule of law, human rights and international commitments”.

On Twitter, Borrell stressed the importance of trade between the EU.

“Our companies choose to invest in Uruguay, as (a) beacon of stability with high production and environmental standards. EU investments represent 40% of total FDI in Uruguay,” Borrell wrote.

Borrell is due to travel to Argentina on Tuesday to meet President Alberto Fernandez and Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero.

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