Austria’s coalition government has announced it will block the EU-Mercosur trade agreement in relation to the EU’s Green Deal.
The EU-Mercosur trade agreement would potentially create the largest free-trade area on the planet, and has been in negotiation between the EU and Latin American countries for over two decades.
Portugese EU officials have been spearheading efforts to introduce the trade agreement, with Portugal’s state secretary of internationalization Eurico Brilhante Dias noting its “geopolitical importance”.
Austria has blocked the agreement following “extensive” forest fires in the Amazon, as well as an increase in agricultural production in Mercosur countries. Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler, a member of the European Green party, said that moving forward with the agreement would “exacerbate” global warning concerns.
Green party members applauded the decision, calling the EU-Mercosur agreement “contrary to the European commitments set out in the Green Deal and commitments made during the Paris agreement”.
Paris has also expressed concerns about the deal, with French foreign trade minister Frank Riester saying that Paris expects “guarantees” from South American nations on “environment and health standards”.
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