Emmaus International

Last June, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, stated at the Citizens' Climate Convention that he would oppose the trade agreement between the European Union and the Mercosur countries. But in July, the European Union celebrated the conclusion of negotiations on this agreement. Emmaus International is a joint signatory, along with around thirty associations and NGOs, to an open letter calling for this agreement to be scrapped, given that its impact on ecosystems and human rights would be disastrous.

Mr President of the Republic,

On 2 June 2017, when Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, you announced that you wanted to #MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain. Then, during the G20 Summit in Osaka in 2019, you declared “I do not want to enter trade agreements with people who do not follow the Paris Agreement, who do not respect our commitments to biodiversity”.

A few weeks’ later, on the occasion of the G7 in Biarritz, under international pressure due to the fires devastating the Amazon rainforest and other precious ecosystems in Brazil and in neighbouring countries, you recognised that France has “some complicity” in the fires and you stated that you would not sign the free trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur “as it stands”. On 29 June 2020, at the Citizens’ Climate Convention, you announced that “this is why I stopped the Mercosur negotiations altogether, and the latest reports that have been submitted to us confirm this decision.”

Social and environmental impacts of the agreement

You made it clear that France would therefore refuse to sign any trade agreement which does not respect the Paris Agreement and that does not protect biodiversity and human rights. However, on 2 July 2020, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, welcomed the finalisation of the negotiations of the agreement between the EU and Mercosur. What should we believe? It's hard to understand.

While we await the publication in the coming days of the report from the commission of experts mandated by your government in July 2019 to assess the health and environmental impacts of this agreement, a new study by CCFD-Terre Solidaire and Greenpeace published recently, in line with all those already produced by the other signatories to this letter, details point by point the major risks that the EU-Mercosur agreement poses to the climate, biodiversity and human rights.

"Explosion of beef, soya and ethanol import quotas”

The figures are overwhelming and the threat this agreement poses to the transition of our agricultural and industrial systems is real: an explosion of quotas for imported beef, soya and ethanol, massive pressure on indigenous territories and ecosystems, the lifting of customs duties on pesticides, the lack of constraints on companies, the absence of any mechanism allowing affected populations to force these same multinational companies to account for their impacts in court, the lack of clear red lines allowing the agreement to be suspended in the event of human rights or environmental violations, and so on.

At a time when 33 environmentalists have been murdered in the Amazon in 2019 alone and fires continue to break records this year, the EU-Mercosur agreement would further increase the pressure on human rights and ecosystems in Latin America.

“An alternative exists to the current European trade policy”

To oppose this EU-Mercosur agreement, which would have a disastrous impact on forests, climate and human rights, action is needed Mr President. You must oppose it and ensure that this trade agreement negotiated between the European Union and Mercosur is rejected by the EU Member States and definitively buried.

An alternative exists to the EU’s current trade policy. It is based on the strengthening of our food sovereignty, on short circuits, on the adoption of ambitious universal social and environmental standards, on binding European and international standards to ensure respect for human rights and the environment by the multinational companies that today rule on both sides of the Atlantic. If you really are #TousEcologistes [AllEcologists], then scrap this agreement.

Please find a list of signatories below:

Sylvie Bukhari-de Pontual, President, CCFD-Terre Solidaire
Jean-François Julliard, Director General, Greenpeace France
Gert-Peter Bruch, President, Planète Amazone
Arnaldo Carneiro Filho, Director, Sinapsis
Fabien Cohen, Secretary General, France Amérique Latine
Maxime Combes, Spokesperson, Attac France
Sandra Cossart, Director, Sherpa
Olivier Dubuquoy, Founder, ZEA
Mathilde Dupré, Co-director, Institut Veblen
Magali Fricaudet, Co-President,
Aitec Perrine Fournier, Head of Advocacy “commerce et forêts”
Fern Khaled Gaiji, President, Amis de la Terre France
Nicolas Girod, Spokesperson, Confédération paysanne
Alain Grandjean, President of Fondation Nicolas Hulot
Olivier Guichardon, President, Envol Vert
Murielle Guilbert, National Secretary, Union syndicale Solidaires
Jonathan Guyot, Co-Founder, all4trees
Glenn Hurowitz, CEO, Mighty Earth
Karine Jacquemart, Director General, foodwatch France
Aurélie Journée-Duez, President, Comité de solidarité avec les Indiens des Amériques (CSIA-Nitassinan)
Bertrand de Kermel, President, Comité Pauvreté et Politique
Bruno Lamour, President, Réseau Roosevelt
Gilliane Le Gallic, President, Alofa Tuvalu
Philippe Martinez, Secretary General, CGT
Charlotte Meyrueis, Director, Coeur de Forêt
Benoit Monange, Director, Fondation de l’Ecologie Politique
Eléonore Morel, Director General, Fédération internationale pour les droits humains (FIDH)
Xavier Morin, President, Canopée
Nathalie Péré-Marzano, Chief Executive of Emmaus International
Marie Pochon, Secretary General, Notre Affaire à Tous
Luc de Ronne, President, ActionAid France
Sabine Rosset, Director, BLOOM
Emma Ruby-Sachs, Executive Director, SumOfUs
Malik Salemkour, President of Ligue des droits de l’Homme
Arnaud Schwartz, President, France Nature Environnement
Christine Soyard, member of the Collegial Board, Fédération Artisans du Monde
Pierre Tritz, President, Foi et Justice Afrique Europe
Evrard Wendenbaum, President, Naturevolution

>> Read the online letter here (in french). 

Copyright : Rodrigo Baleia / AFP