Pittella: Moving beyond the EU-Mercosur agreement, a strategic EU-Latin America alliance is needed to confront our common challenges

Pittella Mission Argentina

Following a mission in Argentina, Uruguay and Chile to strengthen political ties with progressive sister parties and exchange views on the EU-Mercosur and EU-Chile trade agreements*, the president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, Gianni Pittella, stated:

"Latin America is a natural partner for Europe because of the history that bonds us, and the common culture and DNA that unites us.

"In a world where Trump is leading the US towards dangerous isolationism, while China is paradoxically becoming the champion of the market; flooding every corner of Earth with its socially, environmentally and financially dumped products; the EU and Latin America are called upon to relaunch a political, trade and cultural union.

"Europe must invest in a common future with Latin America, filling the gaps left behind by the US, before the Chinese wave invades this continent, as it is doing in Africa. 

"Hence, we strongly believe it is high-time the EU agreed a transparent and mutually beneficial deal with Mercosur. After 17 years of negotiations, it doesn't matter if some more time is needed to finalize this agreement. The EU-Mercosur agreement is not just about meat or Ethanol quotas, it is a political symbol and it can be used as a political tool to help us face our common challenges, such as climate changes, fair trade, the defence of human rights and democracy, and migration.

"Europe is still perceived in Latin America as a shining example. During the meetings we had in Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, we stressed the need for Latin American countries to proceed further along the path of a greater political, cultural and economic integration, by setting up common programmes, such as Erasmus for young students and entrepreneurs.

"Major figures like Salvador Allende in Chile, or tragic moments like the military dictatorship in Argentina must always remind us that democracy can never be taken for granted. Together, united by common values, Europe and Latin America can become a valid engine against isolationism, neo-colonialist and all the anti-democratic drifts in the world."

*Note for editors: among others, President Pittella held a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jorge Faurie in Argentina, with the Vice-President Lucía Topolansky, and the Minister of Economy, Danilo Astori, in Uruguay and with Senator, Isabel Allende in Chile.