Macron warns EU-South America deal hinges on environment

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French President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday that a long-delayed trade deal between the EU and four Latin American nations “is not possible” if they do not follow European environmental policies.

The EU in 2019 reached a trade deal with the Mercosur bloc, comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, after 20 years of negotiations.

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However, the deal has yet to be ratified, with concerns over Brazil’s environmental record under former president Jair Bolsonaro a major concern. It has also sparked concern among the ecological and agricultural sectors in Europe.

The EU has sought to reset relations with Brazil after the return to office of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who in January called for the deal to be urgently ratified.

France has been the most outspoken EU nation against the hard-fought deal.

“A deal with countries of the Latin American continent is not possible if they don’t respect the Paris (climate) accords as we do, and if they don’t respect the same environmental and sanitary obligations that we impose on our producers,” said Macron.

He was speaking at the annual agricultural show in Paris, a traditional stage for presidents and politicians keen to be seen engaging in rural concerns in a ritual known as “stroking the cow’s behind.”

The trade pact needs to be ratified individually by all 27 EU member states before it comes into effect.

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