Austria rejects Mercosur trade deal over Amazon fires

September 23, 2019: Austrian lawmakers have rejected a trade agreement between the EU and the South American block of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina (Mercosur) in response to the Amazon fires in Brazil.

Members of the Austrian parliament’s EU subcommittee, from across the political spectrum, voted against the deal. The legally binding decision now means that the government must vote against the deal at the EU level.

Lawmakers cited concerns about the impact that the deal could have on the environment, workers’ rights and agriculture. Jörg Leichtfried, deputy leader of the centre-left SPÖ, said that “the agreement would have been bad for our agriculture, but especially bad for climate protection and workers’ rights in South America.”

The subcommittee decision comes after French President Emmanuel Macron and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said they would not to pass the deal last month, with Macron labelling the fires an “ecocide” and Varadkar 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.”

See AFTINET’s original post on this issue here: http://aftinet.org.au/cms/node/1772