The European Union is calling for greater “South-South cooperation,” particularly among South American nations to help alleviate the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, the European Union Representative to Paraguay Alessandro Palmero said on Monday.
"South-South cooperation is very important and migration could be one these themes of cooperation. The immigration crisis still has not been resolved and we hope to work together,” Palmero stated on Monday.
The statement comes after increased international scrutiny and condemnation of EU member states for failing to find a comprehensive solution to the current refugee crisis, which has witnessed a record high influx of desperate people from war-torn or economically impoverished countries trying to reach Europe.
The EU representative issued his statements at a press conference after meeting with Paraguayan Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga and Europe Aid Director Jolita Butkeviciene, where they discussed a variety of issues including the ongoing trade negotiations between the EU and Mercosur countries.
"The negotiations which have taken place for the last 15 years, shows that there is significant interest from both sides,” Palmero added.
The Mercosur and EU officially re-established trade negotiations at a summit in Madrid in May 2010 and since then the objective has been to negotiate a comprehensive deal.
However, negotiations have been stalled because the two trade blocs want to make sure the deal includes everything from industrial goods and agricultural goods to services and intellectual property.
In turn, the Mercosur is the EU's eighth most-important trading partner, accounting for 3 percent of the EU's total trade. EU's exports to the region have steadily increased over the last years, rising from 28 billion euros in 2007 to 57 billion euros in 2012.Mercosur is composed of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, while Bolivia is in the process of accession.