France, Ireland threaten Mercosur veto over Amazon fires

updated: 23 August 2019 at 3:11pm Author: Frank Prenesti

(Sharecast News) - France and Ireland said they would oppose an EU trade deal with South American nations if Brazil failed to tackle fires that are currently raging through the Amazon.
Ahead of a G7 leaders' meeting in France this weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly said his Brazil counterpart Jair Bolsonaro, "lied" to him at the G20 meeting in Osaka in June about his climate commitments.

"The decisions and comments of Brazil show that President Bolsonaro has decided not to respect his commitments on the climate or biodiversity," an unnamed French official was cited as saying by Agence France-Presse.

As a result France would oppose the Mercosur treaty, the official said.

The treaty, with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, was signed in June after two decades of negotiation. It has yet to be ratified.

Earlier on Friday Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said his government would oppose ratification.

"There is no way that Ireland will vote for the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement if Brazil does not honour its environmental commitments," he said.

Macron warned that the health of the Amazon was a matter of international concern. "Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon - the lungs which produce 20% of our planet's oxygen - is on fire," he said.

"It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 summit, let's discuss this emergency."

Bolsonaro responded by accusing Macron of using a Brazilian domestic issue for "personal political gain".

"The French president's suggestion that Amazonian issues be discussed at the G7 without the participation of the countries of the region evokes a misplaced colonialist mindset, which does not belong in the 21st Century," he said.