Conference on: The Association between the EU and Mercosur. Will anything come of the Madrid summit?

On 12 May this year, Manuel Cienfuegos, assistant director of the Observatorio de Relaciones con América Latina and co-director of the Máster's in International Business at IDEC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra, delivered the conference ?The Association between the EU and Mercosur. Will anything come of the Madrid summit??at the CECRA headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Below is a brief summary of the conference:

The European Union and Mercosur are promising partners, as shown by the growing exchange in the trade of goods and services, the high volume of investment, significant development co-operation aid provided by the EU to the Southern Cone and the fruitful mutual political dialogue in recent years. Despite such a favourable context, since 1999 the EU and Mercosur have been unsuccessfully negotiating the implementing of the Interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and Mercosur, subscribed in Madrid in 1995, due to the enormous difficulties arising during the 16 negotiation rounds, in particular ?but not exclusively- due to differences in agricultural matters, to the point of being able to state that at present the establishing of the future association is at a dead end. The bi-regional Summit between the EU and LAC, to be held in Madrid in May, provides a unique opportunity to surmount this impasse if good advantage is taken of the fact that it is chaired by Spain, which is the main supporter of the strengthening of relationships between both integrating organizations.