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II panel of the Meeting of Supreme Courts debate the role of the Mercosur Parliament

November 24, 2006

The II Panel of the 4th Mercosul Supreme Courts Meeting debated this morning (24), the role of the Mercosur Parliament in the incorporation and effectiveness in the norms to be emanated within Mercosur.
Justice Hipólito Rodríguez Caorsi, president of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, presided the meeting. The report was chaired by Minister Carlos Eduardo Caputo Bastos, president of the Center for the Study of International Law (CEDI), and as speakers were the presidents of the National Sections of the Mercosur Joint Parliamentary Committee (CPCM), Senator Sérgio Zambiasi (Brazil), Deputy Roberto Conde (Uruguay) and Professor Jorge Lavopa (Argentina).

The Brazilian position

Senator Sérgio Zambiazi (PTB-RS) reported that, according to Agreement 49/2004, the Mercosur Parliament will be constituted until December 31, 2006. Zambiazi stated that "the construction of Mercosul citizenship passes through the plenary of the Parliament, with the mission to represent the peoples of Mercosur, respecting their ideological and political plurality. " The senator from Rio Grande do Sul listed the aims of the Mercosur Parliament: a) to assume the promotion and permanent defense of democracy and peace; B) promote the sustainable development of the region with social justice and respect for the cultural diversity of its populations; C) ensure the participation of civil society actors in the integration process; D) to stimulate the formation of a collective consciousness of citizens and community valuesfor integration; E) contribute to consolidating Latin American integration through the deepening and broadening of Mercosur; And f) promote solidarity and regional and international cooperation.

The parliamentarian evaluated that by the end of this year the constitutive minutes of the Mercosur Parliament should be signed and, in March 2007, the first effective plenary session, at its headquarters in Montevideo, Uruguay.

For Zambiazi, the greater fragility of the Mercosur bloc "lies in the shortfall in incorporating the rules agreed by the decision-making bodies into the internal rights of the states parties. This deficiency affects the credibility of the bloc. " For him, Mercosur reveals itself to the economic agent as an unattractive space for investments, characterized by legal insecurity and lack of predictability and normative effectiveness.

The senator predicts that by December 31, 2010, the integration of Parliament will be parity, with eighteen representatives per country nominated by the respective national congresses. From that date, the Parliament will be composed of representatives elected by universal, direct, secret vote, according to the electoral legislation of each state party. "The Mercosur Parliament will serve as a sounding board for the wishes and concerns of civil society, constituting a channel of communication between the populations and negotiating bodies of integration," concluded Zambiazi.

The position of Uruguay

Uruguayan deputy Roberto Conde believes that Parliament is a component without which the political and institutional progress of Mercosur can not be conceived. Those who understand that "without Mercosur's institutional, political and juridical advances, the pending issues of the economy and trade that we have ahead will never be solved." Although journalists, commentators and political scientists say that this is a critical stage of Mercosur, the parliamentarians involved in it see the process of integration as full of historical potential, Conde continued.

For the Uruguayan parliamentarian, the only way to consolidate this process is definitively adance to the pending stages of perfecting the customs union and building the common market. This step starts from a starting point that is political desire, to which must be added the normative construction of Mercosur.

"Parliament, in its triple role of bringing the political will of normative construction closer together, The sensitivity of social justice to normative construction and the work and management of Mercosur's own institutions of normative construction; Is constructing law, even if it can not sanction it by itself and even if it depends on the internalisation of this right by national parliaments, "said Roberto Conde.

Deputy Conde concluded by questioning whether "in building community law, states lose or gain sovereignty? We parliamentarians have the vision that it is not about giving up sovereignty, but about extending sovereignty. To build a new dimension of sovereignty, so that we are materially sovereign in the global world, since each state, in an individual and fragmented way, today has lost material capacity, real to be sovereign in the conditions of globalization in which we live.

Argentina's opinion

Finally, Professor Jorge Lavopa assessed that there is a lack of greater dissemination of Mercosur. In his experience, as a graduate and post-graduate teacher, for 15 years only a group of initiates discusses the subject. For him, it is necessary that the disclosure is greater, so much by means of communication as by the political parties. But how can something be divulged that even these agents do not know? As for the incorporation of legislation produced by the Mercosur Parliament, how could a country apply a sentence if it is not part of its legal system? Thus, the teacher said "a little disappointed" with what he has seen in these 15 years.

Conclusions

The president of the bureau, Minister Hipólito Rodríguez Caorsi, closed the Second Panel remembering that "most of us have to be aware that Mercosur, from its creation until today, is a bit marshy." However, Caorsi was optimistic because "we have met and exchanged ideas, learned that there are ways, if we lose hope that Mercosur, or some part of it, would not make sense to carry out such forums. I think that these measures are productive and fruitful, and must march forward so that, someday, Mercosur will become reality. "

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