170+ civil society organisations demand just alternative to toxic EU-Mercosur deal
10 May 2023
A broad coalition of civil society organisations both from South America and Europe reiterates its call to stop the EU-Mercosur deal and rejects efforts to “greenwash” it. They call on the EU and Mercosur to engage in a new relationship based on cooperation, solidarity, equality, democracy and sustainability.
The EU-Mercosur agreement is an outdated trade agreement that exemplifies the shortcomings of the EU’s trade policy agenda, say the signing organisations: t will increase deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, human rights violations, job losses, and animal suffering.
We need a strong and reliable relationship with Mercosur. Cooperation instead of competition and solidarity instead of exploitation should be the guiding principle for EU-Mercosur relations. Instead of our relationships being shaped by the interests of transnational corporations, we need to have a model of economic and political cooperation that builds around the needs of people, public services, care work, food sovereignty and sustainability.
Theresa Kofler, Anders Handeln Austria
The EU-Mercosur agreement is unbalanced: people of Mercosur countries will foot the bill, to the sole benefit of the transnational companies that will profit in particular from the opening of public markets. Our common future should not be based on importing more natural resources from Mercosur and to export thermic cars and pesticides, including pesticides banned in the EU, but on guaranteeing a “good life for all” as the call stands for.
A proposed additional protocol to the deal, circulated between EU and Mercosur governments and leaked earlier this year, only offers cosmetic, aspirational and unenforceable adjustments.
And the risks presented by the EU-Mercosur agreement cannot be restrained by the recent EU legislation on imported deforestation, explained Stephanie Ghislain, Political Affairs Manager at Eurogroup for Animals. “This is because the unconditional trade liberalisation foreseen in the EU-Mercosur agreement will further fuel intensification of animal farming, and the legislation ignores many products that contribute to deforestation, as well as other biomes that, just like the Amazon rainforest, are also destroyed by intensive agriculture”.
For these reasons, over 170 civil society organisations from South America and Europe reject this deal and consider the attempts to save it as mere greenwashing.
The EU-Mercosur deal is in direct opposition to climate action, food sovereignty and upholding human rights and animal well-being. Therefore, we need a u-turn for EU trade policy: leaving climate destruction, human and animal rights violations behind and moving towards a sustainable and social relationship based on solidarity for all.
Leah Sullivan, European Trade Justice Coalition
Seattle to Brussels Network is a network of development, environment, human rights, women’s and farmers’ organisations, trade unions, social movements and research institutes. The network was formed in the aftermath of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) 1999 Seattle Ministerial to challenge the corporate-driven trade agenda of the European Union and European governments. It has also developed as a response to the increasing need for European co-ordination among civil society organisations.
‘Planty’ (ex Led Zepp) does his bit at the Freddie tribute concert, London.