International seminar warns about the impacts of the European Union-Mercosur Agreement on the Amazon and South American countries

Organisations warn about the absence of participation of civil society during the negotiation process and expect the Lula administration to reopen the Agreement signed in the Bolsonaro administration after 20 years of negotiations. With the presence of ministers, MPs from Brazil, the European Union and Mercosur, the activity calls the attention to economic and socioenvironmental threats in case the Agreement is sent to be ratified.

CLICK HERE to check out the complete seminar schedule in portuguese

Access by clicking HERE the document of the Brazilian Front against the Mercosur-EU Agreement warning about the damage that the treaty can bring to Brazil and other countries of the South

On 6 and 7 February in Brasilia, an International Seminar will take place with the name “Retaking democracy in Brazil: the role of foreign policy and international trade”. Confirmed presences in the event are member of the Mercosur Parliament (Parlasur) Ricardo Canese, eurodeputies Ana Cavazzini, Miguel Urban and Michèle Rivasi, besides Brazilian MPs Fernanda Melchionna, Duda Salabert and Nilto Tatto. Representatives of civil society, social movements and international organisations will also participate in the event.

The goal is to establish a democratic dialogue between the government, MPs and civil society about the threats of the European Union-Mercosur Agreement, especially to the peoples of the Amazon and South-Americans.

The Brazilian Front Against the Mercosur-EU and Mercosur-EFTA Agreements, promoter of the activity, considers the trade agreement with European countries outdated and uneven. It reinforces the need for widening the debate with civil society. “We acknowledge the relevance of strengthening political, commercial and cooperative relationships with the European Union, but they need to be based on legitimate and transparent negotiations, with great participation of civil society, besides acknowledging the socioeconomic and climatic challenges of our times”, states Maureen Santos, coordinator of the National Assisting Group of FASE (Socio-educational Assistance Foundation).

The way it is, the Agreement incentivises the increase in agricultural production for export in the Mercosur countries, thus accelerating environmental destruction and limiting the possibilities of social and economic development for small farmers, original peoples and other traditional communities. “The Agreement does not contain any compulsory environmental clause, nor does it establish a legal frame or space for litigation in case of conflict, which undermines the possibility of effective reparation actions for violations of human and land rights”, says Tatiana Oliveira, political assessor of INESC (Institute for Socioeconomic Studies).

The expansion of the production of soy, maze, meat and minerals in this region in the last years is responsible for serious socioenvironmental conflicts, which can intensify with the reduction or elimination of trade tariffs. The Agreement must facilitate the increase in imports of pesticides from Europe which are banned in their original countries, and of combustion engine cars which already are produced in Brazil. From an environmental and climatic point of view, the Agreement contributes to the increase in emissions of greenhouse gases and to the deforestation in the Amazon. It also benefits European transnational corporations in a disproportionate way and furthers deindustrialisation in Mercosur. “Negotiations in international politics must also follow the present government’s commitment with retaking social participation. The Front defends that the new models of commerce which respond to the needs of the peoples and today’s historical context must be based on the principles of solidarity, equality, cooperation, sustainability and democracy”, says Lúcia Ortiz, from Friends of the Earth Brazil.

Before the seminar, there will be a three-day field visit with MPs and invited journalists to Santarém (PA). On that occasion, they will visit areas which have been deforested by agribusiness, ports and logistic infrastructures for export of commodities, followed by conversations with traditional and rural communities in the area.

A front in defence of democracy – The Brazilian Front Against the Mercosur-EU and Mercosur-EFTA Agreements was created in September 2020 to fight the dismantling and mismanagement which occurred in the former president Jair Bolsonaro’s administration in the area of international trade. In the period of transition to the new administration, the Front acted with proposals in the Work Groups of Environment, Social Participation and Foreign Affairs. The members of the Front’s collegiate coordination are: FASE (Education and Solidarity), INESC (Institute for Socioeconomic Studies), Friends of the Earth Brazil, REBRIP (Brazilian Network for the Integration of Peoples), Public Services International (PSI), South Jubilee Network and CONTRAF Brazil (National Confederation of Workers in Family Farming). The Seminar is supported by Misereor and HEKS.


International Seminar “Retaking democracy in Brazil: the role of foreign policy and international trade”

When: 6 and 7 February (Monday and Tuesday)
Where:  Centro Cultural de Brasília – SGAN 601 Módulo D – Asa Norte, Brasília – DF
CLICK HERE to check out the complete seminar schedule in portuguese

Press Conference
When: 7 February (Tuesday), at 2 p.m.
Where: Plenário 12 of Commissions – Annex 2 of the National Congress

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