HAS Through diplomatic experiences with Donald Trump in the United States and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, the European Union (EU) seemed to have forged a form of doctrine which consisted of not signing trade agreements with countries who trample on their climate commitments. Refusing the granting of new trade preferences to those who refuse to implement the Paris agreement appeared to be essential to align trade policy with climate policy.
Everything therefore led us to believe that the election of a far-right and climate-sceptical president in Argentina, Javier Milei, in favor of his country leaving Mercosur [communauté économique de pays regroupant l’Argentine, le Brésil, le Paraguay, l’Uruguay et le Venezuela]would instantly block discussions for the finalization of the trade agreement between the EU and the Mercosur countries. On the table since 2019, this agreement is already widely criticized due to the anticipated environmental impacts.
This was without taking into account the determination of the Spanish EU and Brazilian Mercosur presidencies, which aimed to achieve success by the end of 2023. The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, did not did not wait to congratulate the new Argentine president in a press release: “The new Argentine government, which takes office in a difficult economic context, can count on the EU to further strengthen our partnership to achieve positive results for our societies, including by finalizing negotiations on the agreement as soon as possible of EU-Mercosur ociation. »
According to a European spokesperson, contacted by the online media Context, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Brazilian President Lula reportedly agreed the day after Argentina’s election not to change their plans and to meet in Dubai during COP28. Worse, the victory of Javier Milei could even accelerate the conclusion of the negotiations.
Trampling on your own values
We cannot bring ourselves to believe that the EU could trample on its own values in this way a few months before the European election. Pascal Canfin, chairman of the environment committee in the European Parliament, indicated that for French MEPs from the Renaissance group, concluding an agreement with Milei was impossible. Today, strong words must be heard from France, at the highest level, to avoid lulling the Brazilian government into false hopes. This clarity is all the more essential as European member states appear more divided than ever: Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and France do not appear able to give the green light to such an agreement.
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