Photo via Arg Noticias

President Mauricio Macri held an informal meeting with French President François Hollande on Saturday. During the encounter, which came on the heels of the Brexit referendum that saw the UK vote to leave the EU, Hollande assured Macri that Brexit would not affect the ongoing negotiations between the EU and Mercosur, the South American economic trade bloc comprised of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela.

The objective of Macri’s trip to the European Union is to amend Mercosur’s failure to negotiate a viable trade agreement with the EU and initiate negotiations as well as improve bilateral relations with the EU. A couple of weeks ago, draft proposals to liberate trade movement between Mercosur and the EU were made public (they had been submitted a month beforehand).

The French government stated that Brexit would not affect the ongoing negotiations between the EU and Mercosur:

“[Hollande] has emphasized that the UK’s exit will have no consequences on the strengthening [of ties] between the EU, Latin America and Argentina, which must always be closer,” read an official press release.

Macri, for his part, spoke to press upon leaving the meeting, commending Hollande’s commitment to the EU-Mercosur agreement currently being discussed.

“He said that it was necessary to continue moving forward independently of what is happening in the EU. There are delicate issues. We all know that the agricultural issue is a delicate one for France. But there are also great opportunities for exactly that sector in Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. So if we commit ourselves in good faith, we will find a way to be truly integrated in a few years,” said Macri.

French President Francois Hollande and President Mauricio Macri. Photo via El Nacional
French President Francois Hollande and President Mauricio Macri. Photo via El Nacional

Macri is currently on the last leg of his six-day world tour which included Chile for the Pacific Alliance summit. Today he is in Brussels and tomorrow and Wednesday will be in Berlin for a State visit in which he will see Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as the CEOs of German companies like Mercedes Benz, Siemens and Volkswagen in a bid to attract investment.

After all that, Macri will return to Argentina in time to celebrate Argentina’s Independence Day Bicentenary. He will hold a vigil on July 8th in Humahuaca, Jujuy Province, and then go to Tucumán on July 9th to the place where the declaration was signed 200 years ago.