EU Mercosur Association Agreement: Questions and Answers

  1. What kind of deal is the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement?
    The EU-Mercosur Association Agreement is a treaty between the EU and the South American “Mercado Común del Sur” countries Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. The Association Agreement is the comprehensive overarching agreement, of which the trade agreement is only a part. Association Agreements are considered the most far-reaching and ambitious treaties the EU can conclude with third countries, and represent the privileged relationship the treaty partner would have with the EU.
  2. What exactly has been leaked?
    Greenpeace Germany has leaked a non-public negotiating document for the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement, dated 18 June 2020. The text is agreed by both sides. The annexes and protocols, which usually extend to several hundred pages, are still missing, as are entire articles on various substantive provisions, such as the definitions of treaty terms or general exceptions.

    This document contains a collection of texts that are part of the Association Agreement but do not concern trade. EU Association Agreements are usually subdivided into parts, titles and articles. However, the document now in hand lacks both this structure and the numbering of the individual elements of the treaty. As indicated by a note within the document, the order of the elements may also still be changed.
  3. What is Greenpeace’s main criticism of the deal?
    This agreement will create obstacles for climate and biodiversity action and protection of Indigenous rights, and will accelerate forest destruction, especially in the Amazon. It will prevent the just agricultural and transport transitions necessary for a livable planet where everyone can realise their full range of human rights. Right now, we need to move at full speed towards climate and biodiversity action, not backwards, which is where this deal would take us.Please see here for more detailed criticism of the Association Agreement and all its failings.
  4. Where do the negotiations stand now?
    As of autumn 2020, the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement, which is part of the Association Agreement, is in the hands of lawyers and translators to agree on the final detailed wording (what is termed “legal scrubbing”). The last negotiations finished in June 2019, so technically the deal EU Member States would finally sign, after the “legal scrubbing” would be different. But this is no reassurance – the CETA deal that was signed between the EU and Canada had had 19% of text changed after the negotiations officially closed, but the final deal was just as dangerous for the environment, workers’ rights and public health. The non-trade related text of the Association Agreement is also in the hand of lawyers and translators. In July 2020, then Trade Commissioner Hogan announced that the final version of the complete Association Agreement would be sent to Member States in October.