On Friday the 29th of July the first public event on the MERCOSUR-EU negotiations took place in the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Organized by the research institute CEIDIE, speakers included public officials from several ministries, academics such as Carlos Correa, Sandra Negro and Xavier Seuba, as well as representatives from the civil society (ABIA and HAI Europe).

Speakers discussed the background and the current state of the negotiations, as well as the prospective goals envisaged by the parties. Particular attention was devoted to agriculture and intellectual property. The event discussed the significant differences in approach and the difficulties to be overcome, with a view put on the public interest and development concerns.

Civil society presented its concerns with regards to public health and access to medicines and the possible role of the European Parliament in the negotiations.

With respect to intellectual property, fundamental differences between the parties were raised. Dr. Correa put the agreement in the context of the ever-increasing level of demands, while X. Seuba pointed out that in fact parties where not negotiating an IP chapter, but exchanging views on the role of intellectual property on economy and society.

The next round of negotiations will take place in November in Uruguay.

Sophie Bloemen