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Austria reaffirms its veto of the trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur

Inspired Traveler | 8 March 2021

Austria reaffirms its veto of the trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur

Vienna, Mar 7 (EFECOM) .- Austria reaffirmed this Sunday its veto of the trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Mercosur, and asked Portugal, which presides over the community bloc this semester, to avoid any “possible attempt” to the pact enters into force in its current form.

Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler, leader of the environmental group that governs with the Christian Democratic People’s Party, warned that Austria will oppose any approval through the back door, either through an additional non-binding protocol or by dividing the agreement to facilitate entry. in force of its commercial part.

The Deputy Head of Government made that position arrive in a letter addressed to the Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, whose country presides over the Council of the EU this semester, and in which he called for a debate on Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) “transparent” and with “maximum public attention”.

“If we continue to promote trade and economic growth, regardless of the loss of biodiversity, ecosystems and natural resources, we will inevitably lead to a climate catastrophe,” explained the ecologist leader his position on social networks.

“This is one of the reasons why we, as the federal government, are against the Mercosur agreement,” he added.

The Austrian Parliament has already almost unanimously rejected the current agreement, which was signed in mid-2019 between the EU and the four countries of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), – Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay -, after twenty years of talks.

For the agreement to enter into force it must be approved by the 27 EU Member States, as well as by the European Parliament.

Austria, like other countries such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands, considers that the trade agreement with Mercosur does not contain enough clauses to protect the environment and prevent deforestation in Brazil.

The agreement has also drawn criticism, for various reasons, from the EU agriculture and livestock sector, trade unions and environmental organizations.

The vice president of the European Commission (EC) and head of Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said last Wednesday in an interview with Efe that the EU remains committed to ratifying the agreement, but seeks additional improvements by the Mercosur countries in environmental matters .

 source: Inspired Traveler