Free trade beats climate protection | view

Brazilian President Bolsonaro is clearing the rainforest and hindering civil society. And the EU? This rewards him for a lucrative contract. The message of Anna Cavazzini, Member of the European Parliament of the Alliance 90 / The Greens Party.

Greenland ice melts faster than expected. Germany is experiencing one of the most severe drought periods. The younger generation has just recalled it during the weekend events in the Rhineland: our future is at stake if we do not act now.

Now that the EU and its Member States must do everything in their power to put an end to the climate catastrophe, the European Commission ends the trade agreement with the Mercosur States (Brazil Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) – a political agreement could even be concluded. to be reached this week.

The European Commission wants to use the existing window of opportunity: its mandate will be completed soon and it is still unclear who will lead the new commission. In the autumn elections will be held in Argentina and it is not certain that the president of the liberal economy, Mauricio Macri, is holding office. Finally, in Brazil, with Jair Bolsonaro, a free trade president is keen on the agreement.

Here is the buried dog. Bolsonaro had repeatedly announced during the 2018 election campaign to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Even though he has not yet done so formally, his political decisions show what he thinks of the agreement: nothing at all.

Deforestation of the tropical rainforest culminated under the Bolsonaro government. He announced that he would give up indigenous lands for industrial agriculture, which not only accelerates climate change, but also increases the risk of land conflicts.

Bolsonaro has also approved a large number of new pesticides and almost completely reduced spending on climate protection. The agreement itself presents great risks for fueling the fight against climate change, for example through the planned expansion of beef exports.

Under President Bolsonaro, the rights of civil society, as well as those of minorities, indigenous peoples and workers are massively restricted. In the meantime, according to our information (the negotiations are secret), the agreement itself provides no sanction mechanism if human rights or environmental standards are violated.

Basically, the agreement cements a specific economic structure. It will facilitate the export of raw materials from South American countries and will be accompanied by large agro-food structures, the expansion of monocultures and the development of mines.

The EU is fighting for better access to its industrial products. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said a trade agreement could not alleviate all the suffering in the world. That's true. But a trade agreement must be in line with the objectives of the European Union.

Anna Cavazzini joined the European Parliament for the Greens and occupies the trade policy. Previously, she worked for Brot für die Welt and the United Nations, as well as for the Foreign Office.

© Hermann Bredehorst

We can not fight against strengthening efforts to fight climate change in the EU, ban some pesticides, etc., but a trade agreement would undermine this policy. Why do we have to transport several thousand tonnes of beef around the world when large sections of society are asking how to achieve more sustainable agriculture?

From a political point of view, maintaining the dangerous course of Bolsonaro is the wrong solution.

The EU-Mercosur agreement should in no way be finalized at this stage. This would be a bitter blow for the people mobilized in recent months for the European elections, those who parade on the streets for climate protection, as well as for indigenous communities and civil society in Brazil, victims of the current policy of Bolsonaro.

Instead, we need a consultation with the newly elected European Parliament. And we need a discussion on how to reorganize the former 1999 negotiating mandate (!) And realign it with the Paris Climate Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals ( SDO) and human rights.

In an increasingly chaotic world, the EU must ensure that the international system is rules-based. And now, and despite everything, he must advocate for the EU values, namely human rights, worker protection and the fight against the climate crisis, to be put forward.