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News > France

G7 Summit Starts Amid Discontent with Amazon Fires, Trade Wars

  • Portraits of PM Boris Johnson (UK), Chancellor Angela Merkel (Germany), PM Justin Trudeau (Canada) and President Emmanuel Macron (France) in Hendaye, France, August 24, 2019.

    Portraits of PM Boris Johnson (UK), Chancellor Angela Merkel (Germany), PM Justin Trudeau (Canada) and President Emmanuel Macron (France) in Hendaye, France, August 24, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 24 August 2019

The EU-Mercosur trade agreement will not get support if the Brazilian government continues to despise environmental issues.

The European Council (EC) President Donald Tusk said on Saturday that it is difficult to imagine the European Union (EU) approving a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Mercosur as long as Brazil does not stop the Amazonian fires.


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“The burning Amazon rainforest has become another depressing sign of our times. Of course we stand by the EU-Mercosur agreement ... but it is hard to imagine a harmonious process of ratification by the European countries as long as the Brazilian government allows for the destruction of the green lungs of planet Earth," Tusk said upon arriving at the Group of Seven (G7) Summit in Biarritz, France.

This multilateral meeting will also be attended by the presidents of the G7 countries, which are, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom.

In his first statements, Tusk also recognized that it would be "increasingly" hard to find common ground among those nations.

"This is another G7 summit which will be a difficult test of unity," he said, adding that "this may be the last moment to restore our political community."​​​​​​​

Among the reasons for those expectations is a grim variety of disputes and problems that await the G7 leaders, Brexit being one of them.

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will try to negotiate changes in the "Withdrawal Agreement" to get his country out of the European Union (EU) as soon as possible.

Germany, however, will not accept such an option, especially if modifications involve giving up the safety net provision for the UK-Irish land border. The likely next target of the U.S. trade war - France will support the German stance.

Just a few hours before leaving for the G7 Summit, President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on wine if France approves the GAFA Tax, a law that will force Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon to pay a 3 percent tax on their digital sales.​​​​​​​

"France can count on our loyalty and that of all member states," Tusk said and warned that trade wars will lead to a global recession.

"If Trump uses tariffs and fees as a political instrument for different political reasons, the confrontation can be very risky for everyone, including the EU."

Last but not the least, the G7 meeting will also address the global environmental crisis generated by the inaction of Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right ruler who preferred to let the Amazon forests burn for 20 days before issuing a decree that allowed the military to help control the fires.

By statements made by various European leaders, the G7 Summit could be expected to conclude with some measure against the Amazon deforestation.​​​​​​​

Regarding what is happening in the Amazon, Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva accused the Bolsonarian landlords and their big transnationals of being directly responsible for the ecological destruction.​​​​​​​

"Just look at the satellite photos and locate the owners of the lands on fire. If the owner did not complain to the authorities, if he did not go to the police, then he was the one who set the fire on his own land," Lula said on August 22 from a prison in Curitiva, where he remains as a political prisoner since April 2018.

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