Mercosur has “deep asymmetries” and until they are not solved, “the regional block will not have the viability of other integration processes”, said Argentine president Nestor Kirchner who next May 25 commemorates his second year in office.
“Mercosur has a great future if Argentina and Brazil recover. What we’re discussing currently are different interests”, added Mr. Kirchner in long interviews published in Sunday’s edition of Buenos Aires newspapers.
“Our Brazilian brothers must understand that during the nineties Argentina resigned to its industrial role, and Mercosur was more viable, but now the recovery of our industrial role generates conflicts”.
President Kirchner said that his government will not give up “building a middle class and a real working class”, founded on a strong industrial base.
The Argentine president also talked about governance in the region as a launching pad for a “strong Mercosur and the building of an integrated South America”.
“It’s essential each country consolidates governance, otherwise building a solidarity network is difficult. It’s essential Bolivia consolidates, and so does Brazil and Argentina”, explained Mr. Kirchner recalling that the European Community and the European Union consolidated because there were strong countries that helped the rest.
“Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile have that role to play and in this context the energy factor is essential. Bolivia is a natural gas power and her energy is vital for the country and for the region”.
Mr. Kirchner praised the United States for its “positive and prudent attitude in the many negotiations we’ve had to address”.
He admitted that with the 2001/02 default Argentina lost international credibility, but since the very difficult debt swap “we’ve done an excellent job in spite that some multilateral organizations don’t like what Argentina did to achieve it”.
As to negotiations with the IMF, Mr. Kirchner said they will take time because it’s a very serious discussion and “any anxious resolution could be highly harmful”.
President Kirchner insisted Argentina wants to repay the IMF, “we want to honour debts. It would be a dream not be dependent on the IMF, but how far must the effort and sacrifice of the Argentine society go to satisfy demands?”
Finally he said his goal was to build an Argentina that is “serious and reliable”, but to achieve this “you can’t have a weak president” since it would be most difficult to advance in the consolidation of the governance and change process.
This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.