EU leaders threaten to block trade deal with Brazil over Amazon fires

August 27, 2019: European Union leaders have threatened to block the ratification of the recently signed trade deal between the EU and the Mercosur countries of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay in response to Brazil’s handling of the Amazon forest fires.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar have both criticised Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro’s response to the fires, with Macron labelling the fires an “ecocide” and called for an international response to the crisis.

Varadkar also expressed his concern about the fires, stating that “there is no way that Ireland will vote for the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement if Brazil does not honour its environmental commitments.”

Although fires are regular in the Amazon during the dry season, data from Brazil’s space research center INPE shows that the number of fires has doubled since 2013.

For Indigenous communities living in the Amazon, the fires threaten both their lives and their livelihoods and represent another example of the impacts of illegal development in the Amazon.

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Watch a short video of the impact of the fires and illegal development on Indigenous communities: