General Carlos Alvarez, Mercosur's standing secretary, admitted it was difficult for the South American trade group to unify positions because "some countries see the global crisis as something distant."
Nevertheless "I will continue to insist on the need to meet and discuss a joint position" before the G-20 summit scheduled for April 1 and 2 in London, said Alvarez during a speech in Buenos Aires to the Ideas Foundation, the brain child of Spanish President José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
"Mercosur as a block will not be present in London but Argentina and Brazil will, so we expect them to reflect a joint position from the block, if we can reach a consensus."
"It so happens not all countries share the perception of the crisis, on one side we have Brazil and Argentina, but the rest don't feel the same way, some are kind of oblivious," added Alvarez.
The former Argentine vice-president said that the current crisis "is not only a confrontation between State and the market," but rather a "civilizing" crisis and requires a completely different cosmos-vision," adding that "we must take advantage of the crisis to rethink a new society."
Mercosur standing secretary general said that Latin America has been the region of the world which most suffered since the advent of the "neo-liberal model" under former US President Ronald Reagan, "but we are now the lab for the search of answers to neo-liberalism."
Further on he pointed out that with the exception of "Rodríguez Zapatero in Spain it's most hard to identify new ideas among European progressive leaders" and went on to enumerate the defeat of the left in Italy and the "incredible concentration of power" managed by conservative Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's prime minister.
Another speaker at the Buenos Aires conference was Jesús Caldera, Spanish former Labour and Social Services minister Jesus Caldera who recalled that not so long ago "from the other side of the Atlantic (US) we were urged to throw overboard the "social ballast" of the European model so we could better compete."
However "with the neo-liberal, neo-conservative model the number of poor people in the world and industrial countries has soared and is higher in percentage than fifteen years ago," he emphasized.
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