European people’s defender opens investigation into EU-Mercosur agreement

European people's defender opens investigation into EU-Mercosur agreement

(Archive) Partial aerial view of part of the Brazilian Amazon deforested by fires, on August 23, 2019

The defender of the European people, Emily O’Reilly, decided to open, this Friday (10), an investigation on the agreement reached between the European Union (EU) and Mercosur, taking into account the concern of five NGOs about the impact study environmental impact of this pact.

“I decided to initiate an investigation into this complaint”, which points to the lack of an updated environmental impact assessment before the agreement reached in June 2019, writes O’Reilly in a letter to the European Commission President, German Ursula von der Leyen.

The International Federation of Human Rights, ClientEarth, Fern, the Veblen Institute and the Nicolas Hulot Foundation asked the defender to suspend the ratification process, considering that Brussels did not take the impact of the agreement into account.

“The Commission has not respected its legal obligation to ensure that this agreement does not entail social, economic and environmental degradation or violations of human rights,” said these organizations, in mid-June, when they released the presentation of their complaint.

For O’Reilly, who does not comply with the request to suspend the process, the acts denounced constitute a case of “maladministration”, which is why he asks the Commission a series of questions and asks for answers from this body within three months.

After 20 years of negotiations, the EU and the Mercosur countries (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) reached a principle of trade agreement a year ago. The South American bloc is seeking entry into force as soon as possible.

European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan confirmed last Monday (6) that the agreement is currently in the stage of translation into all official languages ​​of the EU, after the conclusion of its legal review. This stage should be completed by October.

“Then, it’s up to the Council [da UE] and the Eurochamber to decide where and when they want to proceed and whether they want to ratify this agreement “, added Hogan, in a context of increasing pressure in Europe for the text not to be ratified.

Before the ratification process, the 27 EU member countries must give their approval to the formal signature, through the EU Council, but the parliaments of the Netherlands, Austria and the Belgian region of Wallonia have already anticipated their opposition to the current text.

Other countries, such as France and Ireland, have also expressed their reservations about the agreement that raises criticism in the European agricultural sector, especially in livestock, and among environmentalists, due to the policies adopted by the Brazilian government.



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