April 13, 2021 by eklose
After two decades of negotiations, the trade pact was announced last year by the European Commission, the executive body that negotiates the trade agreement on behalf of EU countries. The interim agreement, which must be ratified by all EU countries, was concluded with the Mercosur bloc of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. “Today`s agreement also poses a number of challenges for European farmers and the European Commission will be available to help farmers meet these challenges,” EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said in a statement. The agreement was denounced by European cattle farmers, environmental activists and indigenous human rights activists.   There have been protests against the agreement.   Governments and parliaments of EU member states have also criticised the agreement. In October 2020, the European Parliament  and EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis  declared that the EU-Mercosur agreement “cannot be adopted in its current form”. Austrian MPs dealt a blow to the EU`s pioneering trade agreement with the South American economic bloc by calling for the government`s veto of the agreement. The agreement was reached after two decades of often difficult negotiations between the EU and the Mercosur countries – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – which have been bogged down several times because of the sensitivity of European farmers to the beef market. Irish Whisky: Information would be intellectually protected in accordance with the provisions of the agreement Source: AP Archive/AP Images Once the texts are definitively and legally revised, they will have to be translated into all official EU and Mercosur languages.  The texts are then submitted by the European Commission for approval by the Council of Ministers of the European Union. Unanimity is required within the Council. If the Council is adopted, it will sign the agreement and pass it on to the Mercosur countries and the European Parliament.
An EU Association Agreement must also be approved by national parliaments of all EU member states. Ratification of the agreement by the national parliaments of mercosur countries is also necessary.  Together, it is a process that, in itself, can take many years.  However, in the EU, the trade part of the agreement (and certain elements of the preamble, institutional and final provisions) can be provisionally implemented as soon as Mercosur ratifies and the European Parliament approves. The European Commission may also decide to present the trade pillar as a separate trade agreement. If the Mercosur countries and the Council agree, the separate trade agreement must not be approved by the parliaments of the EU Member States (since trade falls under the exclusive competence of the EU), the approval of the European Parliament is sufficient.  What remains of the Association Agreement still needs to be approved by all national parliaments and cannot be implemented provisionally.  Dombrovskis added that the trade agreement was still under legal review and that the European Commission would decide on the ratification procedure at a later date. The agreement was reached after two decades of negotiations and is expected to eliminate more than 90% of agricultural and industrial tariffs on both sides. The Austrian Confederation of Trade Unions (GB) had cried out against the agreement and had argued that it had not sought to establish binding rules for workers and the environment, but that it was focusing on the interests of the industry and not on the people.