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Portuguese MEPs defend the EU-Mercosur trade agreement

Portuguese MEPs Francisco Assis and António Marinho e Pinto today defended the need to complete the trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur to give America Latina "due importance" in the European scene.

Lisbon, November 23 (EFE) .- Portuguese MEPs Francisco Assis and António Marinho e Pinto today defended the need to complete the trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur to give Latin America "the due importance" in the European panorama.

In a debate on the relations between Europe and Latin America held at the Culturgest center in Lisbon, Assis, president of the delegation of the European Parliament for relations with Mercosur, said the EU is working to get an agreement that creates a "common political space" between both territories.

Assis, belonging to the socialist group of the European Chamber, stressed that the agreement will entail minimum requirements in terms of human rights, especially in what refers to "the rights of indigenous people".

The Portuguese MEP acknowledged that the EU "had other priorities" in the past, but that agreement with Mercosur is now one of the maximum objectives of the European body, especially after the changes of government in Brazil and Argentina.

However, he indicated that he is "aware" of the "resistance" of the opposition of some countries and sectors to these negotiations, but recalled that what is sought is to treat Latin America "as equals" and "without misgivings".

For his part, Marinho e Pinto, vice president of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Brazil, admitted that the enthusiasm for the EU-Mercosur agreement has been "withdrawn" in recent times, but also denounced that some European sectors oppose any pact "as if it were their profession".

Marinho e Pinto, a member of the liberal group in the European Parliament, stressed that the trade agreement would be a important factor "of development" and, consequently, "of well-being" and "of the level of work" in Latin America, and asserted that European companies would save up to 4,000 million euros in customs expenses.

He also expressed the need to have a direct communication channel with South America: "It can not be that all communications have to go through States United, "he said.

The president of the Institute for the Promotion of Latin America and the Caribbean, Paulo Neves, also intervened. He said that the best way to combat poverty is with an agreement that "creates wealth".

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