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23rd August 2019 | Agriculture, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Environment, Foreign Affairs

Reject Mercosur unless Amazon and Irish farmers can be protected – Greens

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The Green Party has called on the Irish Government to reject the EU Mercosur Trade Deal unless both the Amazon basin and Irish farmers are protected.

Speaking today, Green Party MEP Ciarán Cuffe said that the threat to Irish farmers and the ongoing fires in the Amazon Basin cast serious doubts on the deal.

“The Amazon is on fire. We must not add fuel to the flames. A record number of fires have been recorded in Brazil’s rainforest this year. This is devastating to habitats and is increasing greenhouse gas emissions. We’re seeing a clear link between deforestation and pressure to increase land availability for land for animal feed production, soy production, and biofuels. The prospect of an EU Mercosur Trade Deal is clearly contributing to this. Meanwhile back in Ireland we’re seeing low prices being paid to Irish farmers, and the risk of their produce being undercut by South American imports.

“The draft deal says it will ‘promote the effective implementation of several multilateral environmental agreements signed by the EU and Mercosur countries, such as the Paris Agreement, the CITES Convention on Wildlife Trade’, however it is silent on who will do the enforcing. Meanwhile the President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro is blaming environmental organisations for the recent fires without offering a scintilla of evidence to support his claim.

“My colleague Grace O’Sullivan MEP sits on the European Parliament Delegation for relations with Mercosur and are working closely together to hold the European Commission and the Irish Government to account on this proposed trade deal.”

Green Party Agriculture Spokesperson Councillor Pippa Hackett, who has been working closely with Irish farmers to ensure their interests are protected, also added:

“The EU-Mercusor Deal is supposed to commit to developing a more sustainable approach to agriculture, including the ecological management and conservation of forests. It is also committed to effectively implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Clearly these issues are not being taken seriously by Brazil – the largest country in the Mercosur trade bloc.”

“The Green Party intends voting against this deal in the Dáil and in the European Parliament unless cast-iron guarantees can be given that both the Amazon and Irish farmers will be protected.”