Latin America: Stop the Mercosur Trade Agreement (

Photo: Presidency AFP / HO Argentinas

Jean-Claude Juncker's European Commission is about to end his term. In the final meters, the outgoing Luxembourg politician seems determined to bring together under the same roof the largest possible number of free trade agreements. Just in time for the G20 summit, a "political agreement" was presented to conclude twenty years of negotiations with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Helmut Scholz (LINKE), MEP and member of the Trade Committee

Helmut Scholz (LINKE), MEP and member of the Trade Committee

Photo: Burkhard Lange

This is a fatal sign for the Argentine people, who are about to chase their extremely neoliberal president for his failure in economic policy. This is a fatal sign of support for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, against whom millions of people have taken to the streets in recent weeks. This man represents everything we fought for as a leftist. Trade unionists, members of the PT, the Communist Party and other left-wing opposition groups are living in fear again in Brazil. Bolsonaro told employees that they had to decide whether they had the right to work or not.

Bolsonaro has announced large-scale deforestation of the Amazon region's forests, in order to keep the promise it made of its support by the Brazilian agri-food sector. More than 68% of indigenous protected areas are threatened. This is not only naive, but cynical, when the European Commission says that the man would commit on paper to implement the Paris agreement on climate change. The rainforest is cleared, the areas go to gigantic farms. Wages are often only a roof for the family and something to eat. This modern form of slavery spreads rapidly in Brazil under Bolsonaro. What does the recognition of certain ILO standards mean in a trade agreement for these facts? How should we apply them?

This has nothing to do with the values ​​and principles on which the EU rests, nor with sustainability, environmental protection and, of course, full respect for the rights of the EU. 39, man and civil rights. Nevertheless, the President of the European Commission, Juncker, spoke of a "historic moment" and the "biggest deal in the history of the EU" when he announced the ## 147 ## Political agreement on a free trade agreement with the South American Confederation of Mercosur. Bolsonaro says almost word for word.

But this agreement is bad for the people. In Brazil, more pesticides are being used than in Brazil, and Bolsonaro has approved 250 additional pesticides, many of which are on banned lists by the UN. And the material is supposed to be exported to our plates now? This will happen because European farmers can not compete with the extremely low prices of producers in Brazil and Argentina. The classes will die. The expected restructuring of the common agricultural policy will be even more difficult.

Conversely, companies in South America will not be able to compete with the productivity of our industries in the automotive, engineering or chemical sectors after the elimination of the tariff. Industrial jobs in Mercosur would be seriously undermined by this agreement. The mandate of the negotiations dates back to the year 2000. The changes that have occurred since then in industry and agriculture as well as the technological upheavals in production processes, the challenges of digitization and protection data, and especially the necessary conclusions for the protection of the environment and species, climate neutrality were still obsolete. not nearly reflected.

Our trade policy must be aligned with the United Nations Agenda 2030's Sustainable Development Agenda and avoid the climate catastrophe. The EU-Mercosur trade agreement does not provide for a series of binding commitments. I will confront candidate Ursula von der Leyen with our questions before her election as President of the Commission. You must be aware of one thing: in the end, the European Parliament, as co-legislator, will decide in 2020 whether there will be a trade agreement or not.