German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is determined to work for a swift conclusion to talks on a trade deal between the European Union and South American economies despite a number of apparent setbacks in recent days.
“The chancellor is very anxious to take the Mercosur deal forward and bring it to a conclusion,” Scholz’s chief spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, said Monday at a regular government news conference in Berlin.
Scholz had made his position clear in separate talks Sunday with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Argentina’s outgoing president, Alberto Fernandez, Hebestreit added. He said it was Germany’s impression that the two leaders welcomed Scholz’s remarks on Mercosur.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday after talks with Brazil’s Lula at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai that environmental concessions obtained by the EU as part of the Mercosur negotiations fall short of what’s needed.
He spoke after the agreement’s finalization already was derailed at the last minute as Argentina isn’t ready to accept new commitments before President-elect Javier Milei takes over.
The EU-Mercosur pact would create an integrated market of 780 million consumers, making it the largest in EU history and one of the world’s biggest free trade pacts.
Scholz will host Lula for talks in Berlin later on Monday, followed by a joint news conference, and the two will then take part in a Germany-Brazil business forum.