The first attempt to negotiate the association agreement
in The European Union's policy towards Mercosur:

This chapter aims to explain the phase in EU-Mercosur relations which negotiated the association agreement without reaching a successful ending. Both parties developed those negotiations under the European Mercosur Interregional Cooperation Agreement (EMIFCA). It was agreed that this agreement would be carried out in two phases. The first phase related to the preparation of the ground for future negotiations by comparing standards, statistical systems, trade procedures, whilst the second phase focussed on trade liberalization. The second phase of this agreement was also focussed on the actual negotiations. In the end, both parties were unable to reach an agreement and the negotiations were stopped in October 2004. This chapter will focus on the period up until the period where the EU became set on developing a political partnership with Brazil. In doing so, this decision marked the beginning of a new stage in history of EU policy towards Mercosur.

By looking at how these two parts of the policy were developed, and how far both sides went in both their statements and actions it will be possible to discuss the level of engagement on the EU side towards Mercosur. It seems that there were actors within the EU willing to both increase and decrease the level of “ambition” and “commitment”. Also, Mercosur countries helped to overcome some of the obstacles and this should be considered in order not to attribute the whole outcome solely to EU behaviour. The EU developed the association agreement towards Mercosur at this stage because of the efforts of the Commissioner in charge of the policy until 1999.

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