450+ organizations join forces against EU-Mercosur agreement

450 organisations say: STOP UE-MERCOSUR © Stop EU Mercosur Coalition

Mar 15, 2021

On March 15, a coalition of more than 450 civil society organizations from both sides of the Atlantic held a press conference showing why the EU-Mercosur trade agreement is a bad deal for people, workers, animals, and the environment.

On June 28, 2019, the EU and Mercosur announced the conclusion of an unprecedented free trade agreement after twenty years of negotiations. If implemented, the agreement will further fuel deforestation, violation of human rights and animal cruelty, thereby destroying livelihoods in both Europe and in South America, hurting family farms, workers and indigenous people. The agreement signals that human rights abuses linked to the supply chains implicated in the deal are acceptable.

For this reason, the coalition of civil society organizations is calling on political leaders from the EU and Mercosur to stop the agreement: The EU-Mercosur agreement belongs to an outdated 20th-century model of trade that has failed the planet. It serves corporate interests at the expense of planetary boundaries and drives untenable social inequalities.

Trading agricultural commodities for polluting cars, the deal poses an imminent threat to industrial jobs in Mercosur countries. It perpetuates the path dependency of South American economies as cheap exporters of raw materials obtained through destruction of vital natural resources rather than fostering the development of sound, diversified and resilient economies.

Following strong pressure from civil society, several Member States – like Austria, France, Belgium and Luxembourg – and the European Parliament have expressed their concerns and the ratification procedure is on hold. The European Commission is conducting discussions with Mercosur countries about “pre-ratification conditions”, which could possibly result in an additional protocol to the agreement. But the coalition argues that an additional protocol or a declaration would not solve any of the issues raised by the agreement as the text of the agreement would not change. The Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapter, for instance, would remain aspirational and not enforceable. The goals and core elements of this agreement are in direct opposition to social justice, job creation, climate action, food sovereignty and upholding human rights and animal well-being.

As pointed out in the statement – which is backed by more than 450 organizations from the EU and Mercosur countries – a 21st-century trade model must support rather than undermine efforts to create socially just and ecologically resilient societies based on the principles of solidarity, protection of human rights and our planetary boundaries to ensure a viable future. Therefore the coalition is calling on political leaders to act accordingly and in the interest of the people, not profits, and stop the EU-Mercosur agreement. The press conference also marked the launch of the website StopEUMercosur.org, a hub for resources and actions opposing the agreement.