The secret chapters of the agreement between Mercosur and the European Union

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Clarion he had access to a 58-page document that had so far been kept in the shadows. This says.

Mercosur and the European Union agreed at the end of June 2019 on their long-awaited association agreement, which includes an important chapter on free trade. From July 12 to mid-September of that year, the European Commission published little by little the parts of the trade agreement, but 58 pages of the association agreement, more general and political, always remained in secret, including those relating to the chapters on the protection of environment and the human rights.

The environmental NGO ‘Greenpeace’ had access to a secret 58-page document that is part of the agreement and shows that the negotiating parties lied when they claimed that the agreement had sufficient clauses to oblige the signatories to respect its sections on environmental protection.

The great obstacle to the ratification of the agreement that its detractors in Europe are pointing to is precisely theBrazil’s environmental policy of Jair Bolsonaro and the negotiated text, according to this leak, has legal provisions very weak and difficult to apply.

The negotiated agreement does not consider the environmental and climate protection chapters as ‘Essential elements’.

Essential elements are those that, in case of violation, can carry sanctions to the point of reaching suspend the agreement. Among the parties protected as “essential elements” are democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and the commitment of the parties to fully implement their international obligations regarding disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Not listed Among these “essential elements” are climate and environmental protection. There is no legal obligation to fulfill those parts of the agreement but the mere promise to do so. The Paris Climate Agreement is applauded –which France considers to be indispensable for the European signing of any trade agreement-, but the agreement does not include no sanction in case of breach of the same.

The document leaked by ‘Greenpeace’ also shows that the article on climate and environmental protection and on the Paris Agreement is limited to making a list of areas in which the parties will cooperate (research and exchange of technologies, for example) but uses the verb “should” cooperate and none of the cooperation options that it indicates can be applied by force to a signatory State that does not want to apply them. They are voluntary.

One of the aspects that most worries European governments lately and that is receiving more media attention is deforestation of the Amazon. The text includes the promotion of a national program to limit deforestation, applicable to each signatory country but clearly designed for Brazil. But the way it was worded makes its application practically voluntary. If Brazil does not comply, there are no mechanisms to force it to comply.

The protection of the environment does not appear as one of the “guiding principles” of the agreement, unlike economic development. The part of environmental protection is relegated to one of the “legitimate political objectives”, which are those that the signatory states can individually regulate as they see fit.

Almost every aspect of environmental and climate protection in the agreement is missing two things: a legal commitment to enforce it and a way to enforce enforcement. There are no sanctions for signatory states that violate these commitments. Brussels could, alleges ‘Greenpeace’, make these chapters part of the “essential elements” of the agreement (as requested by the French and Dutch governments), but this movement I would change what was negotiated and it should be accepted by the Mercosur countries.

The leaked text shows that there are no sanctions or a way to force the application of the agreement in case of violations of the parts related to the rights of workers or indigenous peoples, which seem to be in the text to make it more presentable but without respect for them. can be forced.

The European Parliament voted this week an amendment to a general text on trade in which it ensures that given the climate policies of Brazil of Jair Bolsonaro and “in the current state” of the agreement, cannot ratify it. It was the first time that a majority of MEPs was against an agreement that the European Commission does not dare to put to a vote to the EU Member States because right now there is a sufficient group of countries to block it.

Last week, during the hearing to be ratified in office, the new European Trade Commissioner, the Latvian Valdis Dombrovskis (heavyweight in the European Executive) recognized that European governments wanted “results, substantial commitments from the countries of Mercosur before being able to proceed with ratification ”. Dombrovskis came to recognize that the chapters on sustainable development were not “strong enough.”

Brussels, special

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