President Jair Bolsonaro At a memorial meeting on Friday (26) to mark the 30th anniversary of Mercosur, the group justified the expansion of trade talks with countries outside the group.
The meeting was held via video conference due to the Kovid-19 pandemic. In addition to Bolzoni, the other presidents of the bloc were: Alberto Fernandes (Argentina), Luis Lacalle (Uruguay), Mario Abdo (Paraguay).
Bolsonaro in Mercosur: ‘We urgently need to overcome the damage caused by the pandemic’
In December 2020, Uruguay introduced a proposal to give Mercosur members autonomy to enter into agreements with other blocs or countries at different speeds. The Bolzoni government also suggests flexibility. Under Mercosur law, the four countries are required to enter into joint agreements.
“Brazil wants to rely on the support of other bloc members to continue the development of a network of local-trade negotiations to accelerate the resumption of growth and move forward with a new cycle in Mercosur,” Bolzoni told the meeting on Friday.
The president also said that the modernization of the regime by the rule of consensus decisions could not be a permanent veto break. The rule states that decisions must be made by agreement of all members.
“Whether it is political or economic, differences of opinion between us should not affect the progress of the integration plan, as long as the principles that guide the team are respected. We understand that the consensus law cannot be turned into a tool of veto or permanent braking. The principle of flexibility is enshrined in the Asuncion Treaty itself, ”he said.
Bolsonaro ressed that any political differences between the members of the group would not affect the integration or economic development of the region. The president is in a political arena opposite Argentine President Alberto Fernandez. In the Argentine presidential election, at the end of 2019, Bolzoni backed then-President Mauricio Macri, a rival to Fernandez.
Even after Fernandes’ election, Bolzoni continued to criticize the president-elect. Bolzoni and Fernandez have never met in person. In 2020, the relocation of Pandemic heads of state was limited. But in the last month of December The two had already attended a bilateral video meeting and a virtual mercury meeting.
The President leaves before the end of the meeting
Bolsonaro Mercosur walked out of the video conference before the meeting ended. After concluding his speech, he went to the Senate residence, where Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG) held a video conference with governors to address the fight against the epidemic.
The other three presidents from other Mercosur countries continued at the block meeting. The absence of Bolsonaro was noticed when Argentine Chancellor Philippe Sole greeted the participants.
“Jair Bolzoni from Brazil, I see he’s not there, but I still want to say hello,” Solo said.
In the image below, taken from the broadcast of the Argentine government meeting, you can see that the screen related to Bolzoni was turned off, and the other presidents continued the meeting.
President Alberto Fernandes (back) interacts with Paraguay, Mario Abdo (center), Uruguay and Lacalle Pa (right), while in Brazil (left) there is no one on screen, as Bolsonaro goes – Photo: Reproduction
Bolsonaro defended Mercosur’s general external tariff reform “as a central part of the process of recovering our mobility.” The Brazilian government has called for a 10% reduction in the rate. Normal external tariffs set equal rates for buying and selling a set of products between countries.
“For this reason, Brazil would like to highlight the importance of the extraordinary meeting of our Ministers to be held in April to decide on the agenda and methods of Mercosur’s external negotiations and to revise the public external tariff. Brazil, ”said Bolzoni.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandes disagreed, saying it would be difficult to revise Brazil’s defensive models.
Fernandes told the meeting that he did not believe that partial or linear reduction of tariffs was the best tool of this community. He said Argentina has a practical proposal to resolve any inconsistencies in maintaining a balance between the sectors of the economy.
President Jair Bolsonaro did not wear a mask during a video conference speech at the Mercosur event. He was accompanied by Ministers Ernesto Arazo (Foreign Affairs) and Paulo Guess (Economy) in masks.
Ernesto appeared next to the president at a time when he was under strong political pressure to step down as minister. During a meeting with authorities and Bolzoni this week, Ernesto heard from Mayor Arthur Lira (PP-AL) that foreign affairs should be more efficient in their search for vaccines against Kovid-19.
At another time, at a hearing in the Senate attended by Ernesto, the senators asked him to resign.
In a speech to Mercosul, Bolzoni reiterated his “solidarity with families” and “deep regret over the loss of life and the devastating effects of the epidemic on our people.”
He also called for increased trade between countries to offset the economic impact of the Pandemic.