Can South America Become Neglected in EU Diplomacy?

Jessica Gomes

GEM-STONES Policy Briefs. AGORA Forum, March 2020

Executive Summary

The signing of the free trade agreement with the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) in 2019 seemed to have revived the relationship between South America and Europe, which had been dormant in the past few years. However, controversy has surrounded its ratification, especially because of the lack of environment protection policies adopted by the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. Some countries have threatened to boycott the approval of the agreement in national parliaments, which will be the next step in the procedure requirements of the document.
The intention for a free trade agreement was set in the late 1990s, and the negotiations were characterized by periods of long pauses and unsuccessful returns. Usually, the stalemate in the negotiations were caused by divergences on the quotas regarding agricultural and industrialized products.
The MERCOSUR-EU trade deal was finalized with a concomitant wave of right-wing presidencies in the bloc, namely Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Right-wing parties tend more towards trade liberalization. However, the current political divergence in South America could lead towards scepticism of the benefits of the agreement.


This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 722826.