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France ’opposes signing’ of EU-Mercosur trade deal, says prime minister

Buenos Aires Times | 26 January 2024

France ’opposes signing’ of EU-Mercosur trade deal, says prime minister

France "opposes the signing" of the free-trade agreement being negotiated by the European Union with Mercosur, new Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said Friday as he sought to defuse a wave of protests by farmers.

"France is clearly opposed ... to the signing of the Mercosur treaty," Attal said, declaring that French President Emmanuel Macron "has always opposed" the treaty.

The European Commission is negotiating the final parts of a trade and political agreement with Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, on behalf of the 27 EU countries.

The deal, agreed in 2018 after two decades of talks, needs the approval of all EU member states before it can be signed.

This effectively gives individual countries a veto, as was shown in 2016 by the Belgian region of Wallonia’s days-long rejection of the EU-Canada agreement, known as CETA, in 2016.

Attal’s remarks came during a visit to a livestock farmer in Montastruc-de-Salies, southern France, where he announced a series of measures to respond to more than a week of protests and road blockades.

"You wanted to send a message. I have come to tell you that the message has been received loud and clear, and that I have listened to you," said the prime minister, who expressed his determination to "protect" the agricultural world.

 source: Buenos Aires Times