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Free trade wins the climate protection

Brazilian President Bolsonaro removes rainforests and obstructs civil society. The EU? He rewards him with a great job. Anna Cavazzini, Member of the European Parliament 90 / The Greens.

Greenland ice melted faster than expected. Germany is experiencing one of the most serious droughts. The young generation again made clear to the protest during the weekend in Rheinland: Our future is at stake if we are not working now.

Now that the EU and its member states must do everything in their power to stop the climate catastrophe, the European Commission interrupts a trade agreement with Mercosur, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay – a political agreement may even be this week.

The European Commission wants to make use of the existing window of possibilities: its mandate is about to end and it is not yet clear who will lead the new commission. Argentine elections are held in autumn, and it is not certain that Maurizio Macri's liberal-economic president will be in position. And finally, in Brazil with Jairo Bolsonar there is a president who is free to trade and desperately wants an agreement.

Right here the dog is buried. In election campaign in 2018, Bolsonaro announced on several occasions the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. Although he did not do it formally, his political decisions show what he thinks about the deal – nothing.

The forests of the rainforest reached a peak under the leadership of Bolsonaro. He announced that he would release autochthonous land for industrial agriculture, which not only speeds up climate change, but also increases the risk of land disputes.

Bolsonaro has also approved a large number of new pesticides and reduced spending on climate protection almost completely. The agreement itself poses a great risk for further stimulation of climate change, for example, through the planned expansion of beef exports.

Under President Bolsonar, the rights of civil society, as well as minorities, the indigenous people and workers are massively limited. Meanwhile, according to our information (negotiations are secret), there is no mechanism of sanction in the agreement itself if human rights or environmental standards are violated.

Basically, the agreement cementates the specific economic structure. This will facilitate the export of raw materials from South American countries, and will be accompanied by major agribusinesses, the expansion of monoculture and the development of mines.

The EU is fighting for better access to its industrial assets. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said a trade agreement can not alleviate all the world's suffering. That's right. But a trade agreement must be in line with the European Union's goals.

Anna Cavazzini joins the European Parliament for Green and deals with trade policy. Previously she worked for Brot für die Welt and the United Nations as well as the Foreign Ministry.

© Hermann Bredehorst

It is not possible to solve the issue of stronger climatic efforts in the EU, the ban on certain pesticides, and so on, but then the trade agreement undermines that policy. Why do we have to transport several thousand tons of beef around the world when large parts of society wonder how we can achieve more sustainable agriculture?

From a political standpoint, strengthening the dangerous course of Bolsonaro is the wrong way.

In no case, the EU-Mercosur Agreement should not be completed at this stage. It would be a bit of a lag behind those mobilized in recent months for European elections, those who go out into the streets to protect the climate, as well as for indigenous communities and civil society in Brazil, who are the victims of Bolson's current policy.

Instead, we need consultations with the newly elected European Parliament. We need to debate how to restore the 1999 old negotiating mandate (!) And align it with the Paris Climate Agreement, the UN's goals for sustainable development and human rights.

In a world that is increasingly in chaos, the EU must ensure that the international system is based on rules. And right now and in spite of everything, it has to advocate that the values ​​of the EU, ie human rights, the protection of employees and the fight against the climate crisis, continue ahead.