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Brazil’s Lula Warns that Mercosur Needs to Mature Fast to Achieve Integration

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, of Brazil, said today that the larger countries in Mercosur, namely Brazil and Argentina, must help the smaller ones – Paraguay and Uruguay – develop themselves.

"My thesis is that stronger countries should always be more generous in order to help the poorer ones," he said, after attending the opening of the Consultative Forum of Mercosur Municipalities, States, Provinces and Departments, at the Intercontinental Hotel, in the southeastern Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.

Lula was discussing the proposal made by Brazil for making some of the trade rules for Paraguay and Uruguay more flexible, with the objective of increasing exports of those countries to the remaining countries in the bloc. The issue is under discussion at the Mercosur Summit, taking place today and tomorrow in Rio, but is meeting resistance from Argentina.

"That was how the European Union managed to help in the development of Spain, Portugal and Greece, and now they are helping their new partners develop," said the Brazilian president. "That is what larger countries should do," he claimed.

In Lula's assessment, integration between South American countries must be fully-fledged: political, cultural, social, economic and commercial.

"The businessmen know how to do their work, but governments must evolve in order to understand that we must cater to the interests of other countries instead of just seeking to serve our own interests," the president claimed.

Lula added, though, that South America is aware of the fact that "we must either grow politically and mature fast, overcoming the smaller problems in each country, or we will finish our terms in office without achieving integration."

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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