Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou traveled to London this week, where he met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Downing Street on Monday. Together, the two leaders discussed the bilateral bonds between the United Kingdom and the South American nation, both on commercial, environmental, diplomatic, and defense grounds.
According to Mr. Lacalle Pou, the London-Montevideo relationship was already “exceptionally close,” but now is the time to “take it to the next level, especially economically.” On his part, Mr. Johnson recognized the importance of the Mercosur trade bloc — containing Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay — but suggested that there is room for “new options” to work together.
Mr. Lacalle Pou’s visit comes at a sensitive moment for Mercosur. During an event on May 18, the Uruguayan president demanded the end of what he called “Mercosur protectionism.”
“Uruguay has to break this bond and open itself up to the world. If you want to follow along with us, follow along. If you don’t, we will gladly go by ourselves,” the president said. Under Mr. Lacalle Pou’s liberal administration since 2020, Uruguay became a strong voice in favor of trade bloc modernization, while also leaning toward signing a free-trade agreement with China.