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Negotiations between the EU and Mercosur countries (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay), underway for over 20 years, culminated in a political agreement in June last year. The European Commission has since been preparing the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement for signature. But the agreement is highly controversial. The Austrian, Walloon and recently the Dutch parliaments even rejected the agreement in its current form, while key EU Member states (France and Ireland) have expressed clear criticisms. It is hard to identify any other trade agreement as committed to the thinking and political action of the past as the EU-Mercosur Agreement.

The EU-Mercosur Agreement stands for:

  • the exacerbation of environmental destruction and the climate crisis through the expansion of car exports and the expansion of feed monocultures and grazing land. The meat and soy sectors continue to drive forward the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, the Cerrado and the dry forests of the Chaco, which are of essential importance for the stabilisation of the world climate and for biological diversity. The agreement will reward these practices. The Brazilian Climate Observatory writes in a statement: “Thus, environmental safeguards within the agreement, which were already insufficient even before COVID-19, have now made the document outdated.“ The recent report on the Amazon prepared for the EU Parliament, states that the “current forest fire and deforestation regime in Amazonia put at risk the world’s richest biodiversity.”
    And yet, the agreement does not contain any innovative mechanism to ensure the Parties will respect the international commitments they have listed in provisions related to sustainable development.
    The report further adds: “In case violations persist, it only adds a channel of diplomatic discussions, with no possibility to impose material penalties (emphasis added).” While the environmental consequences of the agreement will be very concrete, the mechanisms to avoid them are insufficient. The situation described in the EP report alone should make clear the agreement cannot be ratified as it stands. 
  • the increase in human rights violations with impunity, including physical violence and the expulsion of small farmers and indigenous people from their lands. Many indigenous leaders and environmental defenders in the Mercosur have been murdered, five in Brazil alone between November 2019 and April 2020. Under the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in particular, human rights violations against minorities and members of the opposition, as well as the curtailment of workers’ rights, are the order of the day. By concluding a trade agreement with governments that promote policies of conflict and plunder, the EU is rewarding human rights violations and contradicting its own democratic values. The additional market access driven by this agreement is also likely to add further incentives to commit such abuses. 
  • an export-oriented agricultural policy that has a detrimental effect on agricultural producer prices on which farmers in Mercosur and EU countries depend. It will bring more harm to animals and damage local food production.Stronger animal welfare and sanitary standards in the EU compared to Mercosur countries make farming more expensive in the EU. Rather than strengthen Mercosur rules, this agreement will reward greater access to cheap meat exports to European markets, creating downward pressure on agricultural producer prices on both sides of the Atlantic. Rising meat exports, increased soy and sugar cane cultivation for livestock feed exported to the EU and agrofuels are intensifying the destruction of the environment, leading to more genetic engineering, massive antibiotics and pesticides use, and soil and water pollution. Moreover, many of the pesticides used in Mercosur are prohibited in the EU. 

The COVID-19 crisis should be a wake-up call that biodiversity destruction and the pursuit of unfettered economic and globalized growth has exposed humanity to major threats. Business as usual is no longer an option. The Mercosur deal takes us backwards. Trade policy must, instead, support localised and shorter value chains less susceptible to disruption and greater ability of governments to create resilient and decentralized food and health systems with greater capacity to produce medicines and medical equipment at the regional level. The EU must transform its trade policy objectives towards multilateral trade rules that support and are subservient to ecological, social, human rights and development policies that keep us within planetary boundaries and promote peace. Instead, this agreement will deepen trade asymmetries between the blocs, increasing unemployment, environmental destruction and puts the health of the people on both sides of the Atlantic at risk. 

Need for more, not less cooperation: The rejection of the EU-Mercosur deal should not be misconstrued as a rejection of constructive cooperation with the region. The EU must be a respectable and a respectful partner in the fight against hunger and poverty, climate change and the enforcement of ILO core labour standards, the rights of peasants and other persons working in rural areas as defined in the respective UN Declaration, human rights and strong animal welfare standards! Such cooperation must be transparent, inclusive and support the active engagement of civil society organisations. Instead, the EU’s planned agreement with Mercosur goes in exactly the opposite direction. 

We therefore call on the Federal Governments and the EU Commission and EU-Parliament to reject this agreement!

Signed by 265 civil society and social movement organisations from the EU and Mercosur:

ATTAC ArgentinaArgentina
Asamblea Argentina mejor sin TLCArgentina
Nodo UTT San Cristobal, Buenos AiresArgentina
Casa Rio LabArgentina
Asociacion Bienvnturados los Pobres Argentina 
Anders HandelnAustria
GLOBAL 2000 / Friends of the Earth AustriaAustria
DKA AustriaAustria
Coordination of the Austrian Bishops Conference for international Development and MissionAustria
Welthaus Diözese Graz-SeckauAustria
ÖBV-Via Campesina AustriaAustria
Attac AustriaAustria
VIER PFOTEN – Stiftung für TierschutzAustria 
ELABasque Country
A Contre-CourantBelgium
Mouvement DEMAINBelgium
Slow Food EuropeBelgium
Centro de Documentación e Información Bolivia – CEDIBBolivia
Movimento ODSejoBrasil
Central de Cooperativas Unisol Brasil Brasil
Justiça GlobalBrasil
Justiça nos Trilhos Brasil 
Eurogroup For AnimalsBrussels
Pascuum SCCLCatalonia – Organitzacions per a la Justícia GlobalCatalonia
Hablemos de Derechos HumanosCosta Rica
La Cadejos, Comunicación FeministaCosta Rica
Coordinadora de ONG para el DesarrolloEspaña
Iniciativa Cambio Personal Justicia GlobalEspaña
Madres por el Clima AsturiasEspaña
Grupo de Acción por el Medioambiente (GRAMA)España
Ecologistas en Acción SegoviaEspaña
foodwatch internationalEurope
European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC)Europe
Friends of the Earth Europe – FOEEEurope
Seattle to Brussels NetworkEurope
The European Environmental Bureau, EEBEurope
Institute for Agriculture and Trade PolicyEurope and US
ETXALDE Nekazaritza IraunkorraEUSKAL HERRIA
Veblen InstituteFrance
France Nature EnvironnementFrance
Comité Pauvreté et PolitiqueFrance
Confederation paysanneFrance
reseau Roosevelt IDFFrance
alofa tuvaluFrance
Diagonal FranceFrance
foodwatch FranceFrance
Attac FranceFrance
Collectif Ethique sur l’étiquetteFrance
Amis de la TerreFrance
CADTM FranceFrance
Réseau Foi & Justice Afrique EuropeFrance
France Amérique Latine (FAL)France
Autres BrésilsFrance
Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH)France
PowerShift e.V.Germany
Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche LandwirtschaftGermany
foodwatch GermanyGermany
Society for Threatened PeoplesGermany
FDCL – Center for Research and Documentation Chile-Latin America Germany
Aktion 3.Welt Saar e.V.Germany
Kooperation BrasilienGermany
Netzwerk Gerechter WelthandelGermany
Action Aid International International
CADTM International
Front Line Defenders International
Zero Waste Alliance Ireland
Sonairte – The National Ecology CentreIreland
ATTAC IrelandIreland
An Claíomh GlasIreland
An Taisce, The National Trust for IrelandIreland
Coomhola Salmon TrustIreland
Fair Trade IrelandIreland
Eco AdvocacyIreland
Good Energies AllianceIreland
Hedge Laying Association of IrelandIreland
Irish Peatland Conservation CouncilIreland
Leave No Trace, IrelandIreland
Nuclear Free Local Authorities, NFLA All Ireland Sustainable Energy ForumIreland
The Organic CentreIreland
VOICE Ireland Ireland
Forest FriendsIreland
Wildlife Rehabilitation IrelandIreland
CoastWatch Ireland Ireland
Cork Environmental Forum, CEFIreland
Cultivate, Sustainable Ireland Co-operativeIreland
Environmental PillarIreland
FEASTA, IrelandIreland
Friends of the Earth, IrelandIreland
Irish Seed Savers Ireland
Irish Wildlife Trust, IWT Ireland
Latin America Solidarity Centre, LASC Ireland
Native Woodland TrustIreland
Green Economy FoundationIreland
BirdWatch IrelandIreland
Stop TTIP ItaliaItaly
Slow Food CremoneseItaly
VerdiEuropaVerde MilanoItaly
transform! italiaItaly
Coordinamento nazionale no trivItaly
A Sud, Ecologia e Cooperazione OnlusItaly
Associazione Culturale Musica in Corso Italy
A titolo personaleItaly
Coordinamento Nord Sud del MondoItaly
Associazione Medici per l’Ambiente – ISDE ItaliaItaly
Associazione Natura Cavalli e CarrozzeItaly
proDES FVG – ASPItaly
Acqua bene comune Valle TelesinaItaly
comitato acqua pubblica di Salerno Italy
Salviamo il Paesaggio CasalascoItaly
HempRevolution APSItaly
CGIL – Confederazione Generale Italiana del LavoroItaly
Fridays For Future PisaItaly
Associazione Botteghe del Mondo ItaliaItaly
Meetup Andora in MovimentoItaly
Italian Forum Water MovementItaly
Associazione Cooperazione Nord-Sud “Il Chicco di Senape” Italy
Navdanya InternationalItaly
Associazione USICONSItaly
Movimento Umanista PopolareItaly
Fridays For Future RomaItaly
SOBREVIVENCIA, amigos de la Tierra ParaguayItaly
Fridays For Future RomaItaly
foodwatch NetherlandsNetherlands
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom dutch sectionNetherlands
Handel Anders! coalitieNetherlands
Both ENDSNetherlands
Platform Aarde Boer ConsumentNetherlands
TTIP, CETA and agriculture coalitionNetherlands
Nederlandse Melkveehouders Vakbond (NMV)Netherlands
Transnational Institute (TNI)Netherlands
Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)Netherlands
FNV- Dutch National Trade UnionNetherlands
The Norwegian Solidarity Committee for Latin AmericaNorway
Intersindical ValencianaPaís Valencià-Spain
Fundación Hugo Daniel Ramírez OsorioParaguay
Comunidad y Desarrollo Sustentable (CODES)Paraguay
FIRE ParaguayParaguay
TROCA- Plataforma por um Comércio Internacional JustoPortugal
ACI – Centro InterCulturaCidadePortugal
Cooperativa MulaPortugal
Palombar – Conservação da Natureza e do Património RuralPortugal
ZERO – Association for the Sustainability of the Earth SystemPortugal
Fruta Feia CRLPortugal
CIDAC – Centro de Intervenção para o Desenvolvimento Amílcar CabralPortugal
Associação de Combate à Precariedade – Precários InflexíveisPortugal
LPN – Liga para a Protecção da NaturezaPortugal
Internacional de Servicios Públicos- Isp Americas Regional Americas 
Plataforma América Latina mejor sin TLCRegional Americas 
Coordinadora Ecoloxista d’AsturiesSpain
Campanya Catalunya No als Tractats de Comerç i InversióSpain
Amigos de la TierraSpain
TTIP-CETA-TISA Tarragona-ReusSpain
Solidaridad Internacional AndaluciaSpain
Trawunche Madrid (Coordinación de Apoyo al Pueblo Mapuche)Spain
Comisión de migración y antirracismo 8MSpain
Comité por la paz de Colombia en MadridSpain
Enginyeria Sense FronteresSpain
GOB MallorcaSpain
Movimiento Ibérico AntinuclearSpain
Asociación Cultural Brasileña MalokaSpain
Plataforma contra el canciller climátic Pla de l’estanySpain
Campanya per una Justícia FiscalSpain
CCOO – CS de Comisiones ObrerasSpain
Sindicato ELA Spain
Grup Ecologista Maigmó(GREMA)-Ecologistas en Acción San Vicente del RaspeigSpain
Attac AcordemSpain
Comité Antinuclaer y Ecologista de SalamancaSpain
Actúa por un Mundo SostenibleSpain
COAG. Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos. Spain
Economistas sin FronterasSpain
Marxa Mundial de Dones-CatalunyaSpain
Ecologistas en AcciónSpain
Campaña No a los Tratados de Comercio e InversiónSpain
Observatori DESCSpain
Feminismos Sierra Noroeste MadridSpain
Ecologistas en Accion federacion de AlmeriaSpain
asociacion vuelta al campoSpain
Boza SurSpain
Agro Can GenoverSpain
illes solidàries amb el sudSpain
Acció Ecologista-AgróSpain
La Garbancita Ecológica S. Coop. Mad. Consumo ResponsableSpain
Ganaderas en RedSpain
Acció EcofeministaSpain
Rebeca Spain
Recortes CeroSpain
Fundación ENtrnetantosSpain
Kutembea na Tanzania, NGOSpain
8 M Guadarrama FeministaSpain
Plataforma ciudadana para una Transición Ecológica JustaSpain
ReHd Mad! red de huertos urbanos comunitaros de MadridSpain
Madrid AgroecológicoSpain
Sello AgroEcoSocial zona centroSpain
Ecologistas en Acción Ciudad de AlmeríaSpain
Centro de Estudios Rurales y de Agricultura InternacionalSpain
Red de Economía Social y Solidaria MadridSpain
Plataforma por la Ganadería Extensiva y el PastoralismoSpain
Observatori de l’AlimentacióSpain
L’Etnogràfica. Antropologia per a la transformació socialSpain
Coordinadora Ecoloxista d’AsturiesSpain
Sindicato Labrego GalegoSpain
Observatorio para una Cultura del TerritorioSpain
Asociación Restauración Paisaje Tradicional VeratoSpain
Coordinadora de ONGDSpain
Plataforma contra macroabocador de la ribera Spain
Intersindical Región MurcianaSpain
Ecotono S.Coop.AndSpain
Red ONGD MadridSpain
Assemblea 15M Sarrià St. GervasiSpain
Recortes CeroSpain
Asociación en Defensa del Territorio del AljarafeSpain
Entrepueblos/Entrpobles/Entrepobos/HerriarteSpanish State
Observatorio de Multinacionales en América Latina – Paz con DignidadSpanish State
Jordens Vänner – FoE SwedenSweden
FIAN Sweden Sweden