Non-institutionalized relations between the EU and Mercosur
in The European Union's policy towards Mercosur:

This chapter covers the first stage of EU-Mercosur policy relations by focussing on the period of 1985 to 1990. At this stage, policy relations were not institutionalized. Policy relations began in 1985 for several reasons. Firstly, the European Union signed the Treaty of Accession of Spain and Portugal which meant the beginning in terms of a new direction in policy towards Latin America, including the Mercosur countries; this is a clear reflection of the creation of a “commitment” towards Latin America, although at a very low level due to the low “ambition” towards the region. Secondly, in 1985, Mercosur countries also started their own regional integration programme. This stage proved to be key in the development of EU-Mercosur relations because it established a new emphasis on EU policy towards Latin America by establishing channels for communication between the two regions, particularly through the development of the annual EU-Rio Group meetings; without this engagement, the EU and Mercosur would have not developed their relationship, and the fact that it came at this point helps to explain the events of the following stages. By the time Mercosur was officially launched in 1991, the EU was fully aware of the integration movement in South America thanks to these years of European Union-Latin America relations. In relation to the engagement of the European Union towards Mercosur, the conclusion comes from a low “ambition” and “commitment” on the European side. This stage of the policy shows the lowest engagement of the three stages. But this engagement is certainly superior to the pre-Iberian membership era.

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