Let the celebrations begin!
MERCOSUR's first-ever Parliament will open on 7 May...
at Uruguay’s Legislative Palace and in its first year will have an operational monthly budget of 30.000 US dollars (from:http://www.mercopress.com/vernoticia.do?id=10337&formato=HTML
This is fantastic news coming from a regional bloc that was coming under criticism for losing focus on its regional integration efforts.
Here's what we know from the article above about the Parliament:
1. Montevideo was chosen as the seat for the group’s Parliament
2. the ceremony is scheduled in Uruguay (the country has rotating Chair)
3. the Mercosur Council, (Foreign Affairs and Economy ministers) still have to decide on the 2008/2010 budget during a meeting scheduled next May in Paraguay
4. The Parliament bill will be split, half of it according to the number of legislators from each country and the other half based on GDP of each member
5. Legislators will not be paid for their work in the regional parliament and the basic staff in 2007 will be limited to 25.
I guess my title might have been a bit premature, considering the parliament only opens in some eight days, but, still, it's worth ruminating over the extent to which a regional parliament will make MERCOSUR more accountable to its citizens.
This news comes on the heels of the (very) personable Mrs Kirschner, First Lady of Argentina, wooing Mexico's President Felipe Calderon into getting into Mercosur, which currently comprises: Argentina; Brazil; (Associate members) Chile/Bolivia; Paraguay; Uruguay; and venezuela.
Here's a quick list of websites of regional parliaments: