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DMER: Delegation for relations with Mercosur

The European Parliament's Delegation for relations with the Mercosur countries (DMER) develops contacts with elected representatives from Mercosur, the South American trading bloc and customs union, and the countries that compose it: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

While the delegation has also traditionally fostered relations with Venezuela, the country was officially suspended from Mercosur in December 2016.

Among the four Mercosur countries, Brazil is also the focus of a separate European Parliament delegation: the Delegation for relations with the Federative Republic of Brazil (D-BR).Brazil also enjoys a "strategic partnership" with the European Union.

MEPs who are members of these delegations are also automatically members of the Parliament's delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly ("Eurolat"), an inter-parliamentary forum for MEPs and representatives from several Latin American legislatures.

Chair and membership

The Mercosur delegation is currently chaired by Francisco Assis, a Portuguese member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament(S&D). He is supported by two vice-chairs: Xabier Benito Ziluaga (GUE/NGL) and Elisabetta Gardini (EPP).

The delegation counts 19 full members and the same number of substitute members. Those members are drawn from the European Parliament's political groups, with the political makeup of the delegation mirroring that of Parliament as a whole.

Meetings and interests

The delegation meets several times a year in Brussels or Strasbourg to discuss relations between both blocs and the recent developments in the regions.

The delegation also hosts visits from its Mercosur partners, and plans official trips to South America to learn more about the local situation, verify EU projects and meet with legislators, members of the countries' executive, and representatives of civil society and business sectors.

During recent meetings, members have paid particular attention to the political, economic and human rights situation in Venezuela, and the EU's trade negotiations with Mercosur, part of a larger negotiation for a bi-regional Association Agreement.

Mercosur

The Delegation's relations with the Mercosur trading bloc are specifically channeled through the Mercosur Parliament, also named Parlasur or Parlasul, which is composed of 81 members from the Mercosur countries.
The Mercosur Parliament held its inaugural session in May 2007. The first meeting with the European Parliament took place one year later, in May 2008.

Legislators from the European and Mercosur parliaments discuss political issues and cooperate on technical matters.

Bilateral relations

The delegation's relations with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay are informal, which is to say there is no official joint committee for representatives from both sides.

When those sorts of committees exist, they are usually established by a written agreement between the two partners. The EU did sign cooperation agreements with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay - as well as Venezuela - in the early 1990s, but these agreements did not spell out arrangements for parliamentary contacts between the countries and the EU.

Despite this, the delegation has worked successfully to foster links with representatives in those countries.

In general, politics, economic affairs and social issues are all considered in the delegation's analysis of bilateral relations.

Political issues include international current affairs (such as the situation in Venezuela) and matters relating to regional integration.

Economic discussions have been dominated by the ongoing negotiations on an EU-Mercosur Association Agreement (which both sides hope to conclude by the 2019 EP elections). The success of these negotiations will allow the EU and Mercosur to launch the largest free trade zone in the world, including more than 800 million consumers.