Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta has called for the free-trade deal between to the European Union and the Mercosur trade bloc to be reignited and ratified.
Describing Argentina's links with the EU as "fundamental," the opposition leader on Tuesday called for the agreement to be ratified and enforced. He delivered his comments after a meeting with a delegation of European Parliament members from the European People’s Party Group (EPP Group) in Buenos Aires.
The lawmakers were visiting the country to participate in the Plenary Session of the European-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) and met with the mayor to exchange views on the bilateral relations between Argentina and Europe, the defence of human rights in Latin America, and climate change.
Reacting to the meeting, Rodríguez Larreta called for a renewed focus on the landmark free-trade deal that was agreed during the Mauricio Macri administration. The deal has yet to enter into force following doubts and criticism on both sides of the Atlantic.
“The relationship between Argentina and the EU is fundamental in order to confront common challenges and achieve more just, inclusive and sustainable societies," the City mayor said in a post on Twitter.
"The agreement between Mercosur and the EU is an example of what we can accomplish working together in pursuit of integration and development. We hope that the issues that remain outstanding can be resolved and that [the agreement] goes into effect as soon as possible,” he added.
During the visit, the European delegation expressed its concern over the humanitarian consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In this regard, the mayor emphasised the need for a strong condemnation by all countries and shared his absolute solidarity with the Ukrainian people, adding that the City of Buenos Aires provides humanitarian assistance to those affected by the conflict.
Likewise, the Juntos por el Cambio leader highlighted the capital's leadership in the battle against climate change and the hosting of the C40 World Mayors Summit in October of this year, which will make visible the efforts of cities all over the world to promote sustainable development.
The C40 Summit, which brings together leaders from a host of international cities, will see more than 30 mayors of places such as Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Rome and Warsaw descend on Buenos Aires for talks.
The EPP Group and Mercosur
The EPP Group is the largest and oldest group in the European Parliament. At the meeting were parliament members Gabriel Mato (Spain), Jörgen Warborn (Sweden), Isabel Benjumea (Spain), José Manuel García-Margallo (Spain), Leopoldo López Gil (Spain), Krzysztof Hetman (Poland), Herbert Dorfmann (Italy), Andreas Schwab (Germany), Jens Gieseke (Germany), and the Secretary-General and Foreign Affairs, Fernando Straface.
Mercosur has more than 300 million inhabitants and cumulatively is the world's fifth-largest economy, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).