Austrian parliament Mercosur vote ‘a major win’ – Carthy

The decision of the Parliament of Austria to vote against the EU-Mercosur trade agreement has been labelled as a “major win” against a “toxic deal” by one Irish MEP.

Matt Carthy, a Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands-North West, highlighted that, under Austrian law, the country’s government will be compelled to follow the parliament’s vote on this.

“This move by Austrian parliamentarians is a major win in the battle against the toxic Mercosur deal. It presents a perfect opportunity for the Irish Government to now kill this trade agreement in its tracks,” said Carthy.

Like the Austrian government, our Taoiseach has been given an unequivocal message from the Dáil that the Mercosur deal should be vetoed. That he and his Government have refused to convey that position to the European institutions is unacceptable.

Carthy argued that the “importation into the EU market of an additional annual 99,000t of Brazilian beef will destroy our family farm model, the lifeblood of our regional economies”.

“The Mercosur trade deal offers nothing positive for Ireland. It is bad for our most important indigenous sector; bad for our overall economy and disastrous for the environment. It must be rejected,” he added.

Carthy claimed that the decision by the Austrians indicates “widespread support” for rejection of the deal.

We should provide progressive leadership on this issue by stating categorically that Ireland will veto this deal and any others that put the interests of multi-national corporations before that of the environment and citizens.

The Austrian vote was also welcomed by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), which argued that the vote shows that the consensus in favour of the deal is “falling apart”.

“It seems that there is increasing unease that the costs outweigh the benefits, particularly on environmental grounds,” said Edmond Phelan, the ICSA president.

“In simple terms, Mercosur means more cars sold to South America in return for more beef shipped to Europe, even though our markets are already saturated,” Phelan added.