Politico | 10 December 2023
Dombrovskis signals Brussels will push ahead on Mercosur despite French opposition
BY ASHLEIGH FURLONG
Brussels is pushing for an agreement on a free-trade deal with the Mercosur bloc of South American countries despite French dissent, with the EU trade chief saying Paris “should have a look at what is actually in that final agreement.”
Negotiations on the EU’s planned trade deal with Mercosur have stalled as Brazil signalled that the new Argentinian government would need to approve it. France, a long-time opponent of the deal, has derided the environmental aspects of the proposed accord.
Despite those objections, EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis told the Financial Times that the majority of EU countries support the EU-Mercosur deal and that Brussels is committed to try to “finalize this agreement.”
“I think the French side should have a look at what is actually in that final agreement, which we are still negotiating, and how far it addresses the concerns the president has stated,” said Dombrovskis.
French President Emmanuel Macron last weekend criticized the carbon footprint of the products imported from Mercosur.
“I cannot ask our farmers, our industrialists in France and everywhere else in Europe to make efforts toward decarbonization, while suddenly removing all tariffs to bring in goods that aren’t subjected to these rules,” Macron said on December 2. “A few sentences were added at the beginning and at the end of the text to please France — but this isn’t working.”
Hopes that the deal would have been finalized in early December were dashed after Brazil said that the new Argentinian government led by anarcho-capitalist Javier Milei would need to approve it. But despite fears that he would scupper the deal, Milei has toned down his rhetoric on Mercosur.