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Open letter of parliamentarians (MPs and MEPs) to the European Commission: Democratic scrutiny of the EU-Mercosur deal is non-negotiable!

Thomas Waitz | 20 November 2023

Open letter of parliamentarians (MPs and MEPs) to the European Commission: Democratic scrutiny of the EU-Mercosur deal is non-negotiable!

Read the letter in pdf format and see the list of signatories

Dear EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen,
Dear Executive Vice-President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis,

As parliamentarians at the national and EU level, we are writing to you to express our deep
concern with regards to the upcoming procedural steps towards the adoption of the EU-Mercosur association agreement. Reports that you as European Commission are
considering changing the voting process, in order to make it easier and faster for the EU-Mercosur trade deal to come into force, concern us in a variety of ways:

Firstly, separating the trade parts from their wider political cooperation framework would
contradict the Commission’s negotiating mandate and be a regrettable sign that the EU
prioritises its economic interests over cooperation and partnership with the Mercosur
countries. Legal analyses show that it would constitute a deviation from what the Council
envisaged for the EU-Mercosur deal, whereby trade concessions should be framed in a
broader political agreement. Indeed, the intention behind starting negotiations between the
EU and the Mercosur countries was to have closer cooperation not only economically, but
most importantly, politically.

Secondly, changing the voting process at the last minute and proposing the adoption of the
trade pillar without the approval by parliaments at the national level and the consent of all EU
Member States within the Council of the EU would bypass the democratic scrutiny and public
debate at the national and regional level throughout the EU that was initially foreseen. We as
parliamentarians want our, and our colleagues’, right to have a say to be protected. An
approval by national and regional parliaments, in addition to an approval by the European
Parliament and the Council, is a crucially important act of democracy and provides protection
for farmers, workers, consumers and all citizens. Removing national and regional
parliaments’ right to vote in favour or against the trade agreement at this late stage of the
process would be unacceptable.

Thirdly, the trade agreement itself does not contain any references to human rights, and the
clause which would allow the suspension of the trade deal in case of serious human rights
violations is contained in the political dialogue part, not the trade pillar. Hence, separating the
trade agreement from the wider political deal would mean the entering into force of trade
liberalisation without any human rights conditionality. EU trade policy should never
undermine human and workers rights, environmental protection and animal welfare, and this
deal fails in this regard.

The negotiating mandate given to you by the Council of the European Union was clear: the
EU-Mercosur association agreement as a whole, trade and political dialogue parts jointly, is
to be approved unanimously by EU Member States in the Council, by a majority in the
European Parliament as well as by all relevant parliaments at the national level.
We call on you to uphold the democratic processes and refrain from splitting the EUMercosur trade agreement from the association agreement envisaged in the negotiating
mandate, as well as refrain from forcing the approval of said deal as an “interim” free trade

Yours sincerely,

 source: Thomas Waitz