Lacalle Pou Takes Over Pro Tempore Presidency of Mercosur in Asunción on Monday

Uruguayan President to Hand Over Mercosur Pro Tem Presidency Amid Criticism

Uruguay’s President, Lacalle Pou, is set to attend the Summit of Presidents and Heads of State of Mercosur in Assumption, Paraguay, this Monday. This will mark the last time he will hold the pro tempore presidency of the regional bloc, comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

During his tenure, Lacalle Pou has been vocal about his criticisms of Mercosur’s functioning and its limitations on Uruguay’s economic and commercial development. He has often referred to the bloc as a "corset" that hinders the country’s ability to sign trade agreements with other countries or blocs.

Mercosur’s internal rules, which require consensus, rather than a majority vote, have hindered Uruguay’s efforts to negotiate bilateral trade agreements. Lacalle Pou has previously proposed signing a free trade agreement with China, but this has been met with resistance from other member states.

The change in government in Argentina, led by President Lula Da Silva, was seen as an opportunity for Uruguay to advance its trade agenda independently. However, despite the tense relations between the two governments, no substantial progress has been made.

The Summit comes as Argentina’s President, Javier Milei, has decided not to attend, citing strong criticism from Lula Da Silva.

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