Macron Slams EU-Mercosur Deal to Brazilian Execs as ‘Terrible

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Emmanuel Macron, France’s leader, expressed to Brazil’s business heads that the EU’s current trade proposition with Mercosur is detrimental for all involved.

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Addressing a Sao Paulo audience on Wednesday, Macron critiqued the Mercosur-EU agreement as antiquated and blind to modern environmental challenges. His stance remains the most vocally critical among his European peers.

“The deal on the table with Mercosur, as it’s been negotiated now, it’s a terrible one. Bad for you, bad for us,” Macron declared, as per the Portuguese interpretation by the Industry Federation of Sao Paulo, the event’s host venue. “It’s a relic from two decades ago. It needs a complete overhaul.”

Macron maintains his stance against any deal until the South American nations meet European standards for environment and health. The issue has been a hot-button topic, especially with European farmers protesting over pesticide concerns this year.

The Mercosur bloc includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Macron, on his three-day Brazilian trip, hadn’t broached the topic upon arrival, even with a packed schedule in Belem alongside Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. His team had previously stated the deal wouldn’t feature in discussions.

“This agreement, as it stands, I can’t support it,” Macron stated, in the presence of Brazil’s Vice President and Industry Minister Geraldo Alckmin.

Alckmin, without directly addressing the deal in his remarks, did hint at the ongoing talks.

“President Lula often mentions the need for reciprocity. It’s about mutual benefits. We seek market access, as we open ours,” he commented. Some Brazilian economists argue the EU isn’t reciprocating sufficiently for Mercosur’s products.

On Tuesday, Macron and Lula unveiled a joint investment of 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) towards Amazon conservation, covering the French Guiana rainforest as well.

According to a statement from both nations, the funds will be distributed over four years to safeguard the rainforest, in a partnership involving Brazilian state banks and the French investment bank.

On Thursday, Macron is scheduled to continue to Brasilia for another round of talks with Lula.

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