Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil’s former president (1995-2003), believes that Mercosur “needs to be reborn but with a real integration spirit among its members” leaving behind such ambitions as the mirror of the European Union.
“Mercosur got stalled at the start and did not advance much. Why? Simply because of an over-bloated initial ambition: they were thinking in the EU or something like it and we just managed to agree on barriers, a common external tariff, and that’s all” said Cardoso.
“There was no effective integration of capitals, no occupation of the region’s territorial space with investments that could start in one country and continue into others, not even an attempt to create a regional social security fund that would enable labor to move freely,” regretted Cardoso.
Mercosur was launched in 1991 by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay with the purpose of promoting the free circulation of goods and services among its members. Venezuela is in the process of incorporation while, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador are associates.
The former president who was one of the lecturers for the Century XXI Council in an event held in Mexico City regretted that Mercosur members with the passing of time have been “locked into the trade issue”, leaving aside other fields.
“If we really want to reactivate Mercosur we would need a far greater integration effort and not feel satisfied where we stand now”, added Cardoso.
Regarding the current developed countries’ economic hard times, Cardoso said that Latin America overall has managed to overcome the situation in good conditions which he attributed to the experience collected from past crises and taking advantage of globalization.
“High prices for commodities’ exports in most of the region’s countries have helped to put an end to debt problems and accumulate sufficient reserves to face any outside surprises,” underlined the former Brazilian leader.