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World Social Forum: Mass movements say ‘no’ to EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement

The EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement (MEFTA) will destroy jobs and the environment, GUE/NGL MEP Marie-Pierre Vieu warned as she met with social movements from across Latin America at the World Social Forum (13-17 March) in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.

Vieu denounced what she called the Commission’s ‘neoliberal offensive’ against the environment, social rights, public services and cultural diversity:

“The Commission’s free trade agreements are old-fashioned and are intended to bring privatisation to a broad spectrum of human activity, submitting them to the interests of corporations and international investors. Three of the four governments with which the EU plans to sign MEFTA are right-wing, responsible for committing terrible human rights violations while the Brazilian government is the result of a coup.”

“MEFTA is expected to bring about the demise of thousands of small- and medium-sized farms in France, Europe and the Mercosur countries so that large agribusinesses and transnational corporations can profit. The Commission is ignoring the impact assessment from a decade ago that showed how this agreement would damage biodiversity, threaten indigenous communities and destroy an estimated 50 million hectares of Amazonian rain forest.”

“Consumers will have little means to stop the importation of products with dangerous substances such as glyphosate, pesticides, GMOs and hormones due to the lowering of standards. MEFTA would hamper the industrialisation of Mercosur countries, destroy thousands of jobs and make the countries dependent on the export of raw materials, mining products, oil, and gas,” she added.

As social movements mount collective resistance to the agreement at the World Social Forum, MEP Vieu has expressed optimism that the agreement will be stopped:

“It is astounding how the proposals of the Commission are so at odds with the desires of the people at the World Social Forum. They represent the 99 percent as opposed to the wealthy minority in Davos. This agreement will be rejected by the people, they will not succeed.”

“I am optimistic about the proposals being put forward at the Forum for new development models, tackling climate change, guarantee access to public services and impose obligations on transnational corporations to respect human rights,” the French MEP concluded.