The adesion of Ecuador and Venezuela as regular Mercosul Associated States became official during the XXVII Regular Meeting of the Council of the Common Market and the Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the Mercosul.
Ten years after the Mercosur tariff union was launched, in December, 1994, representatives of the bloc will meet in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, from December 15-16. The event will end in Ouro Preto on December 17.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the gathering marks,among other things, the end of Brazil’s presidency of the bloc. Beginning the first of January, 2005, Paraguay will assume the rotating presidency.
Ten years ago, the four Mercosur countries – Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina – signed a protocol in Ouro Preto that served as an instutiional landmark for the bloc.
The document validated the international legal rights of the bloc, giving it the jurisdiction to negotiate,in its own right, agreements with other countries, groups of countries, and international agencies.
There are meetings scheduled this week with the Presidents and Ministries of Foreign Relations, Economy, Industry, and Foreign Trade of South American countries, Mexico, Panama, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland.
The meetings will discuss such questions as the creation of the Mercosur Parliament and Fund to finance structural integration projects.
There are also strategic plans to increase employment in the bloc, through the regulation of the Protocol of Government Purchases and the easing of entreprenurial actiivities.
Besides these questions the Council should approve agreements with the Associate States concerning illegal immigration and cooperation on mutual security matters when it comes to health issues: (HIV-AIDS), tobacco, and other diseases;
Translator: David Silberstein