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Press release / 29 June 2020

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."

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