During the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Mercosur, which this morning gathered the presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile and Bolivia, Foreign Minister Felipe Solá presented the Mercosur Citizenship Statute (ECM), a compilation of rights and benefits that have a direct impact on the lives of citizens of the bloc’s member countries. “This is a way to put ordinary people at the centre, those who cross our towns, our customs and borders,” Solá stated during his address, after highlighting the multidimensional approach of the Statute. “It reflects a lot of the work done during the last 30 years, and is intended to maintain an ever stronger spirit of unity.”
“We believe that these rights and benefits, the willingness to unite and a rise in economic and trade activity that creates more jobs for our citizens will help Mercosur achieve what is most important to us, continuity,” stated Solá, who joined President Alberto Fernández during the opening of the virtual meeting with his counterparts, under Argentina’s current Pro Tempore Presidency of the bloc.
In line with the strategy of adopting a multidimensional approach to integration, aimed at achieving sustainable development with justice and social inclusion, in 2010 the member countries of Mercosur set out to launch a ten-year long Plan of Action for the gradual development of a Mercosur Citizenship Statute.
The ECM was developed as a collection of fundamental rights and benefits for the citizens of the Mercosur Member States, based on the following goals, among others, of the bloc’s Foundational Treaties:
- Implementation of a free movement of people policy in the region.
- Equality of civil, social, cultural and economic rights and freedoms for the citizens of the Mercosur Member States.
- Equal opportunities to access work, health and education.
Accordingly, and thanks to the work done by the different organs and fora of Mercosur, on the 30th anniversary of the creation the bloc, today this Statute was presented, which gathers rights and benefits that have a direct impact on the lives of the citizens of the member countries in very different fields, such as movement of people and residence, borders, jobs, social security, education, consular cooperation, communications and consumer protection, among others.
Some of the rights in the ECM include eligibility for a citizen of a Mercosur member country to obtain a simplified residence permit in another country of the bloc, gain access to formal employment and be able to study and exercise their rights and social freedoms under the same conditions as nationals of that country; and the right to have a primary or secondary school diploma recognized and validated just as in the country of origin.