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Mercosur Summit to Tackle Food Crisis, EU Migration Policy

Leaders of South America's 10-member trade bloc known as Mercosur begin their two-day summit in Argentina Monday.

The meeting in Tucuman is expected to focus on the world's food crisis, regional integration, and Europe's controversial new immigration policies.

Earlier this month, European Union ministers agreed on a set of measures for expelling undocumented migrants. The new laws allow EU nations to detain illegal immigrants up to 18 months before deporting them to their home countries.

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has lashed out at the new measures, saying that xenophobia and discrimination are on the rise in Europe, as workers fear losing their jobs to immigrants.

Mercosur was created in 1991 by the Treaty of AsunciĆ³n, signed by the heads of state of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru were later admitted as associate members, and Venezuela expects to join in as a full member. Mercosur is headquartered in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.