Political scientist: EU-Mercosur agreement promotes environmental protection

Photo: Brazilian Real (via dts news agency)
Photo: Brazilian Real (via dts news agency)

Hamburg (dts news agency) – According to Hamburg political scientist Detlef Nolte, the planned free trade agreement between the EU and the Mercosur states can make an important contribution to environmental protection in South America. “An agreement can help put pressure on Brazil to change its tough course. Without a treaty that would hardly be possible,” said the South America expert of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (Thursday edition).
He contradicts environmental and development groups that want to prevent the trade agreement, among other things, because of pesticide exports and ongoing fires in the Brazilian Amazon. A conclusion of the agreement should not fail because of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, said Nolte. “Agreements are made between states, you shouldn’t hang that on individual people. Bolsonaro will also disappear at some point.” If the EU-Mercosur agreement does not come about, it should strengthen the influence of China and the USA in the region, said Nolte. “Whether that is better for the environment there is questionable.”

Resistance to the agreement is growing, also in Germany. An alliance of non-governmental organizations presented a protest note this Thursday in which it warns of increasing exports of highly toxic pesticides and disadvantages for EU consumers, reports the SZ. Your goal is to stop the deal. Nolte considers the objections of the NGOs to be entirely justified in individual points.

In his view, the agreement needs effective control mechanisms, for example to ensure environmental standards. “You have to look closely and readjust if necessary,” he demanded. “We do not yet know what exactly is in the contract text.” The Mercosur countries and the EU agreed on the agreement last year, but it has not yet been signed. The text of the treaty is currently still being legally checked before it is submitted to the EU member states for approval. The Federal Government wants to pass the agreement quickly and use Germany’s current EU Council Presidency for this. The auto and mechanical engineering industries in particular want to benefit from the contract through tariff reductions. In economic terms, the agreement would be the most important that the EU has concluded to date. With 780 million consumers, the world’s largest free trade market would emerge, representing a quarter of global economic output. Proponents see this as an important counterweight to the major economic powers USA and China.