Press release – Call by 265 organisations to the EU: “Do not sign the EU-Mercosur trade agreement”
Germany must use its influence as president of the EU in the second half of this year to ensure that the controversial EU-Mercosur free trade agreement is not signed. This is the message in a letter presented to German chancellor Angela Merkel today by 265 civil society and environmental organisations from the EU and Mercosur countries. The deal between the EU and Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay will stimulate destruction of the natural environment and the violation of human rights in vulnerable areas in South America. The agreement will also give European farmers an unfair competitive advantage. Dutch signatories to the letter include Greenpeace and Both ENDS and various organisations united in the Handel Anders! coalition.
In the summer of 2019, after more than 20 years of negotiations, a political agreement was reached between the EU and Mercosur. Since then, the European Commission has been preparing the signing of the agreement by all EU member states. But there is growing resistance to the agreement on both sides of the Atlantic. Parliaments in the Netherlands, Austria and French-speaking Belgium have already rejected the agreement in its current form, while France and Ireland have also taken a very critical position.
Expansion of monocultures
The EU-Mercosur agreements aims to promote trade and investment between the EU and the four South American countries. But, rather than benefiting people and the planet, it will only lead to further human rights violations, and pollution and destruction of the natural environment.
"If the EU imports even more ethanol from sugarcane, beef, pork and poultry meat and soya from Mercosur countries, production will only increase," says Sinde de Strijcker from Both ENDS. "The agreement contains no binding rules for companies, so the increased demand will only lead to greater impunity and land-grabbing, especially in vulnerable areas like the Amazon and the Cerrado."
Priority for people and the natural environment
"We are not against trade," says Sara Murawski from Handel Anders!. "We are for trade that benefits people and their living environments. The EU-Mercosur agreement explicitly does not do that, so we are asking member states to take their responsibility and reject it."
Read more about this subject
All Eyes on the Amazon
Covering an area of 5.5 million km², the Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world. At least 12% of the forest has been lost in the last decades, and deforestation is still continuing at a rapid pace. Illegal logging, land grabbing and intimidation for agriculture, animal husbandry and mining are daily business, and impunity rules. Recent developments, such as the election of the new Bolsonaro government in Brazil, make the future of the Amazon region and the people living there even more uncertain than it already was.
International trade agreements often have far-reaching consequences not only for the economy of a country, but also for people and the environment. It is primarily the most vulnerable groups who suffer most from these agreements.
Event / 22 February 2022, 16:00 - 17:30
Webinar and launch of new publication about EU-Mercosur
What is the EU-Mercosur association treaty and why is it controversial? What could be the implications of the treaty for people and their livelihoods both in EU and Mercosur countries? For more information about these and other issues, see our new publication and join our interactive webinar next week!
News / 18 June 2019
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Today, more than 340 organisations from both South America and Europe, including Both ENDS, have sent a joint open letter to European Union leaders calling for the EU to cease negotiations on the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement. The organisations and their constituencies are seriously concerned about increasing violations of indigenous human rights and damage to nature and the environment in Brazil.
News / 2 August 2019
EU unveils 'Action Plan' on Deforestation
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Blog / 14 April 2020
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After five years of equivocation the European Commission has proposed a ‘roadmap’ for stepping-up EU action to address its contribution to global deforestation. Despite the escalating impact of EU trade in forest-risk commodities, regardless of repeated calls from the European Parliament for regulatory measures and contrary to the conclusions of the Commission’s own feasibility study in support of legislative intervention, the Commission has ruled-out out any new initiatives, let alone any legislative measures. The Commission’s solution to this complex problem: policy coherence.
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Blog / 12 May 2020
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Press release / 25 October 2021
New report: EU-Mercosur trade agreement a disaster for people and the environment
The EU-Mercosur trade agreement leads to environmental destruction, violation of the land rights of farmers and indigenous people and the loss of industrial jobs in the Mercosur countries. It also creates unfair competition for European farmers. The Handel Anders! coalition is calling for an alternative agreement to improve the political cooperation between the EU and the Mercosur countries and is making proposals for just and sustainable international trade rules. That is the core message of new publication presented today in the Nieuwspoort in The Hague.
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Event / 7 December 2021, 14:00 - 15:15
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The European Union's (EU) foreign trade policy has many implications for the sustainability of food systems in developing countries, heavily impacting farmers, breeders, and citizens. The unhidden promotion by the EU of strong intellectual property rights on plants affects food systems from its very basis, i.e., the seeds that are available for farmers to grow. Amongst these intellectual property rights, the main instrument that is advocated by European authorities is the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention, which provides exclusive rights to breeders over the propagating material of new plant varieties, while diminishing the rights of others to use the material for further breeding and hampering with the rights of farmers to freely save, use, exchange and sell their seeds.
Blog / 10 December 2021
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