Peña proposes a Mercosur with closer integration and rapprochement between Presidents

Asunción, Agencia IP.- Paraguay will propose an agenda that takes the physical and logistical integration of Mercosur as central issues during its Pro Tempore Presidency to make use of the enormous potential of this region, said President Santiago Peña.

During the Summit of Heads of State, the leaders first participated in a Summit of Leaders in Rio de Janeiro.

President Peña called on the other country members to «focus on the great challenges we have as a region. The remarkable achievements will not come from outside, but from within,» he pointed out.

The potential of Mercosur as a food producer, with access to water and renewable energy, must be a focus to respond to global challenges, the President indicated.

Additionally, he pointed out his desire to build links between Presidents to find solutions within Mercosur, a bloc «with successes but that accumulates many failures,» he said.

Relations between states

«We have an institutional responsibility first: Countries have relations from State to State, not with people. We have the right to have our differences. Still, we are obliged always to sit and discuss,» Peña explained about the decision of his Government to restore diplomatic relations with Venezuela after four years.

He also mentioned during the summit that the current problems of the member countries are problems of the entire Mercosur. «Argentina’s problem (due to its current economic situation) is an issue for the entire region,» said Peña and insisted on the need to strengthen the bloc internally with greater consensus among authorities.

These links between Heads of State are what will be able to promote the necessary changes within Mercosur, he explained.

Peña recalled his speech during the United Nations General Assembly, where he indicated that multilateralism currently does not work, and expanded his position today by pointing out that «the Monetary Fund does not work, the IDB does not work, other Ibero-American organizations do not work, and we have to work on the OAS,» for which he asked the Presidents from Mercosur to work for an integration process that genuinely benefits all member countries.

Physical integration

Peña also indicated the importance of integrating the region physically and cited two works: the Bioceanic Corridor, which is currently being constructed, and the Paraguay-Paraná waterway.

Regarding the Bioceanic corridor, he highlighted that it would allow the union of the Atlantic and Pacific ports, allowing Paraguay to access Asian markets, «those that offer the greatest dynamism.» In this regard, Mercosur made an official trade agreement with Singapore today, promoted by Paraguay.

Regarding the waterway, Peña recalled that it is the most efficient route for the efficient transportation of goods and said that its potential is not used in full by the five countries that share the rivers and that, today, are part of Mercosur with the official inclusion of Bolivia as a member country.

He cited that this route is an ample business opportunity for Paraguay and Bolivia due to their Mediterranean status, for Brazil for its agricultural and mineral production in Mediterranean regions, and for Argentina and Uruguay for the imports and exports that pass through their ports.

The President pointed out that, in his opinion, physical integration is the tool of progress for the Mercosur countries.