Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Chavez is corrupting Mercosur

26th September 2007

The EU must now reach out to Latin America country by country to avoid a "new protectionism"

Strasbourg, 26th September -- Mercosur is too weak to create EU style single market in the region not least because of the decision by Argentina to join with Hugo Chávez's anti free market crusade. Dr Charles Tannock MEP, Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman, says the EU must now deal directly with South American countries to avoid a new protectionism emerging.

Dr Tannock said in a debate in the European Parliament yesterday: "In the past I was a champion of EU driven regional integration in Latin America by preferentially supporting regional multilateral blocs such as Mercosur. But with Mercosur failing to pull its weight I urge the EU to champion a strategic bilateral partnership with Brazil which has so far placed too much faith in Mercosur.

"Chávez's petrodollar generosity towards Argentina has forced President Lula of Brazil to ignore Mercosur issues and allowed President Kirchner to further his protectionist stance."