American countries, such as Bolivia, Mexico, Chile, and the members of the Andean trade agreement. Trade between the EU and Mercosur plus Chile amount to $6.2 billion in EU exports and $5.1 in EU imports. Frustrated by lack of progress with the US, but encouraged by developments elsewhere, Argentine President Menem was quoted to the effect that if it wished to do so the US could apply for membership in Mercosur! Recent trade and exchange rate conflict between Mercosur’s two largest members, Argentina and Brazil, suggest that future progress may be slow in coming; the EU is also concerned that the lack of an institutional structure may put in jeopardy the entire initiative. As is generally the case, one of the chief stumbling blocks to future progress remains EU agricultural interests as they see such an agreement a threat to the Common Agricultural Policy. This should, of course, be seen as a diminishing force as changes with occur in the CAP if only because of the financial implications of enlargement of EU membership unless such changes are introduced.
Nonetheless, both sides see advantages to pursuing a closer relationship. The EU is anxious that South America not become explicitly in the orbit of the US through a formal Western Hemispheric trade agreement, from which the EU would be excluded. Mercosur, and its associate members see in the EU a successful initiative to forge a close relationship in all aspects, economic, cultural, political and security, among nations that are certainly as heterogeneous in their languages, institutions, and cultures as are the South American nations. Surely something could be learned from this experience. Finally, both the EU and Mercosur find comfort in agreements that are purely economic in nature and devoid of the implicit political and security agendas that invariably accompany an agreement with the US.
Progress on closer relations between these two parties will also be difficult in the context of the EU’s concentration on expansion of its membership and the enormous concentration of attention and resources that this will require.
5f.– This is unquestionably the weakest and least developed of any of the Atlantic Rim linkages. Not until Africa has developed into a more significant market and has achieved a certain level of stability will this relationship amount to more than the odd cultural initiative or two.
5g. – The relationship between continental Europe and Africa are the most ancient of any of the Atlantic Rim linkages. Until recently the elements in this relationship have been nation-to-nation ties that have been marked first by imperialism and colonialism, then by national liberation struggles to break those bonds, later by more mature and less unequal relations between sovereign states, and now by relationships between individual African nations and the European Union. Only the most contemporary of these relationships will be developed here. In examining this set of linkages it will be necessary to treat individually the EU’s contemporary relations with Mediterranean North Africa, and South Africa. Each relationship is quite different, a fact which makes explicit the impossibility of a single “Africa” policy for the EU. Indeed several of the individual members of the EU have their own distinct approach to Africa; those of France and the United Kingdom have been treated above (see Section 4b). Sub-Saharan Africa still lacks the economic weight to figure much in Africa’s relations with the EU or, for that matter, with the other regions of the Atlantic Rim.