MEPs must suspend EU-Brazil trade negotiations to stop ‘Bolsonaro’s rainforest rampage’

Green MEP Molly Scott Cato and Labour MEP Jude Kirton-Darling have called on MEPs from all groups in the European Parliament to join them in voting against the EU-Mercosur Association agreement, a trade deal between Latin American countries – including Brazil – and the EU, unless it includes clear protection for the Amazon rainforest.

The two MEPs have made the demand following new evidence that deforestation in the Brazilian rainforest has increased rapidly since President Bolsonaro came to power. In May the rate of Amazon rainforest destruction hit a new record.

A new report by Alex Thomson for Channel 4 News, to be aired over two night, reveals the extent of the destruction due to illegal logging and cattle ranchers. He reports that ‘Bolsonaro wants the Amazon rainforest destroyed and said Brazil should wipe out indigenous tribes’ He also reports that the president ‘wants to give every rancher a gun’.

Molly Scott Cato said:

“Saving the Amazon rainforest is critical in the fight against climate change and in safeguarding the rights, indeed the very existence, of many indigenous tribes.

 “Evidence of this shocking destruction is now indisputable. We in the European Parliament can help bring Bolsonaro’s rainforest rampage to a halt by pushing for the EU to abandon trade talks until his regime ends this environmental disaster and stops abusing human rights.”

“Given wide acceptance of the climate emergency we face, I hope that MEPs from across the political spectrum will join us in calling for the suspension of negotiations on the Mercosur agreement.” 

Labour MEP Jude Kirton-Darling, who sits on the European Parliament’s International Trade committee, added:

“Enough is enough. Trade agreements must be at the service of society, working for people and planet and not vice versa. Since the inauguration of Bolsonaro in January the Brazilian government has taken actions that directly undermine the principles of the EU’s ‘Trade for All’ strategy, facilitating the violation of human rights and the further degradation of the environment.

“It’s time for the EU to put its rhetoric into action and make climate action and human rights a pre-condition to trade talks. We need guarantees that the Bolsonaro regime will show a genuine commitment to its responsibilities under the Paris Climate Agreement and ensure the rights of indigenous people are fully protected. Until then we will not agree to vote in favour of an EU-Mercosur trade agreement and will push for the deal to be vetoed.”

The new call for action against Brazil follows a letter to the Trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, by a cross-party group of MEPs in which they said they would not agree to vote in favour of an EU-Mercosur trade agreement until guarantees were given that the Bolsonaro regime would meet its commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement, as well as ensuring that the rights of indigenous people are fully protected.