EU and Mercosur leaders to hold ‘working dinner’ tonight

A number of leading figures in the European Commission will tonight meet with Mercosur leaders for a “working dinner” to review negotiations to date between the two economic powerhouses.

European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen will be among representatives at the event this evening, Wednesday, June 26.

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, as well as Commissioner for Trade Cecelia Malmstrom, will also be in attendance.

Confirming the event to AgriLand, a representative from the commission said: “Technical meetings took place between the EU and Mercosur over the last days.

Tonight, Vice-President Katainen together with Commissioners Malmström and Hogan will receive their Mercosur counterparts for a working dinner to take stock of the progress achieved so far in these discussions.

“This is all there is to say at this stage,” the commission spokesperson added.

Earlier today, European Commissioner for Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, met with Brazilian minister for agriculture Tereza Cristina in Brussels.


The event comes amid a backdrop of farmer fears over a possible agreement on quota-free access for up to 100,000t of beef.

Last week, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was among four European leaders to co-sign a letter outlining “deep concerns” over any deal with the South American trade bloc, sent to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The letter, seen by AgriLand, outlines the particular exposure of the European agricultural sector if a deal goes ahead.

“The question of import into the union of beef, poultry, sugar and ethanol is particularly sensitive to us,” the letter reads.

The import quotas currently negotiated for beef imports could threaten this fragile sector in our countries, particularly against the background of the potentially dramatic and negative impact of a disorderly Brexit on EU markets.

“The cumulative effects of quotas negotiated in various trade agreements signed by the union can ultimately destabilise production and the agricultural sector,” the four European leaders warned.