This article was originally published on the website of La Via Campesina.
Joint statement by the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) and the Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Organizaciones del Campo CLOC – Via Campesina condemning the EU-MERCOSUR free trade agreement as undemocratic and in violation of peasants’ rights and climate commitments. This statement comes at a time when the European Commission and some EU Member States are trying to find a way to approve such an agreement, without taking into account the democratic control of national parliaments, the real impact or the implementation of “environmental” measures.
January 30, 2023
In a statement signed by numerous organisations, small- and medium-scale farmers from Europe and South America have condemned the EU-MERCOSUR Free Trade Agreement as undemocratic and a violation of peasants’ rights and climate commitments.
The statement comes as the European Commission and some EU Member States are pushing to find ways to adopt the FTA, with little regard for the democratic control of national parliaments or real impact or implementation of so-called environmental measures.
In their statement, the European and South American regions of LVC are just two of the many CSO voices to reject this agreement and all the proposals designed to fast-track ratification without due democratic scrutiny. These proposals include splitting the agreement into a section covering purely trade, to bypass the much of the sign-off process from dozens of national parliaments, or putting together a non-binding additional document to simply appear to be considering environmental concerns, with little commitment to implementation after. Small- and medium scale farmers from both sides of the Atlantic condemn these attempts to greenwash an unstainable FTA and overlook the strong democratic opposition that the new FTA generates.
In addition to the statement, European peasants will also protest with allied organisations in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Madrid to underline the obsolete nature of the FTA, particularly in the context of the promise made in the European Green Deal, Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. Given that in the EU, the farming population accounts for less than 5% of total employment, the EU must do more to ensure their trade policies are coherent with their vision to support rural development and ensure rural areas properly integrated into any green transition.
Andoni Garcia Arriola, member of ECVC and the Spanish peasants’ organisation COAG explained. “The EU-MERCOSUR deal promotes industrial models of agriculture aimed at export agribusiness and destroys the more social and sustainable agriculture in the hands of small and medium-sized farmers on both sides of the Atlantic. This agreement increases the number of agricultural products that are unnecessarily imported and exported across and within continents, when otherwise those products could be produced sustainably and agroecologically by local peasants. For all these reasons, together with other Mercosur peasants’ organisations, we demand the EU and Mercosur governments to stop this agreement entirely.”
It is time to shift away from the free-trade paradigm towards a new framework for international trade based on food sovereignty. Any agreements negotiated by the EU must have at their core human rights, and in particular food producers’ rights as recognised in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP).
This would allow for genuine agricultural development which gives the priority to local food production and agroecology, instead of prioritising the profit and expansion of corporate power on food and agriculture.
DOWNLOAD the full statement