Today, Foreign Minister Felipe Solá headed a meeting organized by the “Embajada Abierta” Foundation and the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI) and stated that “doing politics is about reaching agreements with people that think differently. We must again be confident that we are building something bigger than us.”
The virtual meeting, “Argentine foreign policy and Mercosur”, was attended by academics, politicians and diplomats, including the Argentine ambassador to the United States, Jorge Argüello, the OEI Secretary General, Mariano Jabonero, former Chilean Interior Minister Rodrigo Peñailillo and the Ambassador of the EU in Argentina, Aude Maio-Coliche.
Solá stated that “we can now envisage our future unbounded by national borders, as a region with almost 200,000,000 people and 12,000,000 km2. The development of the bloc has only stopped due to the pandemic. The idea of dismantling it comes from some political leaders, not from the people. It is a highly valuable asset.”
Joined by the Chief of the Private Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Guillermo Justo Chaves, Solá stated: “South America has political stability and is a zone of peace, but it is also the most inequitable region in the world. Mercosur is not expanding as it should, not only due to lack of trade agreements but also due to lack of conviction and growth problems that have affected governments in recent years. Affairs involving other countries are now becoming the subject of positions as if they were local matters, and divisive forces are being exerted from abroad. Issues related to other countries are being used for internal division. And that conditions and ideologizes external positions”.
He also stated that “the world seems to be moving towards regionalization and economic closure for an uncertain length of time, with more protective tariffs and more protection overall due to the pandemic, and at the same time, there are more opportunities for stronger regional agreements.
“With regard to the Common External Tariff, I believe that we will be able to conduct more successful negotiations if we start with a high CET, and then decide among ourselves what tariffs to reduce and how much to realistically reduce them. But in the middle of the pandemic, given the many different views and internal discussions in our countries, is this the time to speed up? We believe that this is the time to stay more united than ever. This is the time to be cautious and find ways to help each other, not the time to go our own separate ways. This is the idea we will put forward during the Mercosur meeting of Foreign Ministers on 26 April.