After the adoption by the European Parliament of an amendment stating that it will not ratify the EU-Mercosur agreement “as it stands”, it is now clear that the deal needs to be reviewed.
With such a clear signal from the entire Parliament and with the statement made by the newly appointed Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis that the Commission will not start the ratification process, the discussions are now likely to revolve around “pre-ratification conditions”. The Commission hinted that they might want to follow an approach similar to the one used at the time of the ratification of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which is the signature of an additional protocol clarifying commitments of the Parties. However, Members of the Animal Welfare Intergroup already made it clear: it would not be enough.
Just one week before, several Members of the European Parliament took the opportunity of the Intergroup last regular monthly session to raise their concerns over the impact the agreement could have on the environment and animal welfare. ‘Trade deals should be compatible with the ambitious visions and commitments in all policy areas and [with international] agreements such as the Paris Agreement and [with] the Green Deal’ said MEP Anja Hazekamp, President of the Integroup.
During her final speech at the Intergroup meeting held on 29 September, MEP Hazekamp listed six conditions without which the group of MEPs, who are fighting for animal welfare within the European Parliament, will not support this trade agreement. She called on the European Commission to:
1. Review the market access offer to further and substantially limit the volume granted in tariff rate quotas for animal-based products, especially for bovine and chicken products
2. Include animal welfare conditions for all trade preferences granted to animal products
3. Strengthen the TSD Chapter and its enforcement mechanisms by establishing a proper monitoring mechanism to assess the impact of the implementation of the trade deal on animals, the environment and people and by introducing material penalties in case of violations of these provisions
4. Include a comprehensive cooperation mechanism on animal welfare, that should not only cover farm animal welfare but also animals used in science and animals living in the wild with the clear objective to improve the protection of animal welfare and their habitats by enacting and implementing stronger legislation
5. Review the chapter on technical barriers to trade to avoid any obstacles to the future impositions of the methods of production labels of imported products too
6. Introduce a provision in the chapter on sanitary and phytosanitary measures protecting the right to the EU to rely on the precautionary principle in the field of food safety. The EU precautionary principle should be leading principle at all times.