MEP calls for ‘scrap’ of Mercosur trade deal

“We need to rethink the Mercosur deal, and, to put it bluntly, scrap it,” according to MEP Billy Kelleher.

The Fianna Fáil MEP has welcomed the announcement of an inquiry into the EU Commission’s Mercosur trade agreement by the EU Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly.

Kelleher described the inquiry as a “positive and responsible move”, which highlights his concerns about the deal from a trade and climate change perspective, along with showcasing the “commission’s short-sightedness”.

“At the core of this inquiry is the EU Commission’s failure to follow its own advice and carry out a full sustainability impact assessment (SIA) before concluding the agreement with a number of South American countries,” he said.

If the EU cannot follow its own guidelines, how can we be confident that the decision taken is in the best interests of EU citizens and of the environment?

Kelleher said he finds the idea of the Mercosur agreement not having a major impact on sustainability “ludicrous”.

“We already produce enough high-quality beef ourselves, to the highest animal welfare and environmental standards,” he continued.

“How can producing beef in South America and transporting it across the Atlantic to Europe be environmentally sustainable?”

‘We need to scrap it’

Kelleher said the decision to have an inquiry into the trade agreement “makes sense” to him.

“O’Reilly’s decision represents a victory for those EU citizens who are deeply dismayed by the commission’s short-sightedness,” he stated.

The Mercosur trade agreement provides for a limited amount of beef to be imported from the Mercosur countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay at lower tariff prices. The EU and Mercosur group of countries reached the agreement of the trade pact in 2019.

Compatibility of the trade agreement with reaching sustainability goals in Europe has been under scrutiny since the agreement was made.