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Dear Mr. Konecny,
Thank you for your letter of 17 May in which you share the concerns of the Seattle to Brussels Network and Friends of the Earth Europe about certain actions undertaken by the Brazilian government, express views against the EU-Mercosur Agreement and ask for its ratification to be halted. Executive Vice-President Mr. Valdis Dombrovskis asked me to reply on his behalf.
I would like to start by acknowledging your concerns about the environmental situation in Brazil and some of the measures taken or planned by the Brazilian government. Please rest assured that the Commission takes these concerns very seriously and is determined to address them. While I would not want to downplay the responsibilities attributable to questionable public and regulatory policy choices, nor the challenges that Brazil is facing in terms of controlling deforestation and forest fires, I do not share the premise that the Agreement is part of the problem and should be abandoned. I fully agree that it is necessary for Mercosur countries, and in particular Brazil, to demonstrate their commitment to addressing environmental and climate change concerns and to take serious actions to improve the situation on the ground. Therefore, already last year I expressed the opinion that the EU will need concrete results and meaningful engagement from Mercosur countries before we can proceed with the ratification of the Agreement.
Provided we see a change of direction, I believe that it is ultimately more useful to have an agreement in place. This would allow the EU to engage with our Mercosur partners on concerns related to sustainability through a proper framework; an opportunity we would miss if we failed to ratify the Agreement. The Agreement will empower the EU to work with Mercosur countries on a broad range of issues covering not only trade but also climate change, the environment, human and labour rights as per the provisions on trade and sustainable development (TSD) included in the Agreement.
To continue reading, download a PDF of the letter.