Brazil and EU agree to retake stalled free trade negotiations

Brazil and the European Union have agreed to resume stalled free trade negotiations between the EU and South America's Mercosur trade bloc.

The agreement was reached Thursday in Brasilia during a meeting between Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso.

The free trade negotiations were launched in 1999 but came to a standstill five years later when the two sides failed to reach an understanding on market access.

Mercosur demanded greater access to Europe's agricultural market and the EU wanted Mercosur to open its market to European manufactured products.

Barroso says the partners want "a comprehensive and balanced agreement."

Mercosur is formed by Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela.