An EU-Mercosur Association Agreement is only possible if it is beneficial for both parties

The Agreement should not sacrifice any sector, region or country, the European Economic and Social Committee stresses

The European Union is the world's largest economy, and Mercosur the sixth largest. There are significant benefits to be gained for both parties in signing the Association Agreement (AA), says the European Economic and Social Committee in its opinion Towards an EU-Mercosur Association Agreement, adopted at its plenary session on 24 May. The EU would gain access to a market of almost 300 million inhabitants. Mercosur could diversify its economies and add value to its exports as well as gaining access to a market of 500 million people. Given the territory, population and current trade of more than EUR 84 billion per year, concluding the Association Agreement between the EU and Mercosur would strengthen the role of both blocs on the international stage and create a large economic integration area, bringing benefits for both parties and generating positive spillover effects for the rest of Latin America as well. However, under no circumstances can the Association Agreement be based on a poor deal, warns the EESC.

The EESC calls upon the negotiating parties, and the EU in particular, to consider the high political and economic cost of not reaching an agreement or of reaching one that is not well-balanced for both parties, said Josep Puxeu Rocamora, rapporteur for the EESC's opinion. The Association Agreement would be a comprehensive strategic agreement aiming to provide long-term benefits for all economic and social actors of both parties in terms of development, security, migration and environmental challenges.

The Association Agreement should have a fully comprehensive social, labour and environmental dimension",  reiterated Mário Soares, co-rapporteur of the opinion. This dimension should ensure that economic relations are in line with social and environmental objectives and the ILO conventions governing sustainable development(sg)