Germany is in! Now the EU must stop the current EU-Mercosur Agreement

Global transition

According to youth climate activists who met with the German Chancellor yesterday, Angela Merkel announced that Germany will not ratify the EU-Mercosur Agreement in its current form. This news came after the mobilisation of 1.7 million Europeans calling upon the EU to stop the EU-Mercosur Agreement [1].

 Trade and Climate Project Manager at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Cornelia Maarfield said: “The EU-Mercosur agreement would fuel the destruction of the Amazon. It is a first step in the right direction that the German Chancellor questions the ratification of the trade deal. She and other EU leaders should put the current deal on ice and renegotiate it on the basis of a mandate that reflects the climate emergency as well as the need to save the Amazon rainforest and its peoples.”

Merkel’s announcement comes while fires in the Amazon rainforest are the worst in a decade[2]. Amazon deforestation has soared by 34% in the past 12 months[3]. The fires are not an accident; they are intentionally started to clear land for the expansion of agriculture. Currently, about a fifth of beef and soy exports from Brazil to the EU is directly contributing to deforestation[4]. The EU-Mercosur trade agreement, in its current form, would increase the trade in commodities that are driving deforestation, including beef and soy. The EU-Mercosur Agreement thus risks aggravating the Amazon fires and the impact of European consumption behavior on deforestation.

Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Wendel Trio, said: “To fulfil their commitments to tackle climate change, both the EU and Brazil need an agreement that puts them on a different path of economic development. A new agreement should aid the transition to a climate neutral economy for instance by facilitating trade and investment into agroecology, renewable energy and clean transport. It would also encourage technology and knowledge transfer. This would stimulate a green recovery, create new future-proof jobs and conserve natural assets.”


Goksen Sahin, Communications Coordinator,, +32 468 45 39 20
Cornelia Maarfield, Trade and Climate Project Manager,, +49 170 8765 271 (English or German)

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 170 member organisations from 38 European countries, representing over 1.500 NGOs and more than 47 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.


[1] Until now, almost 1.7 million Europeans signed on various petitions to tell the EU leaders that the Mercosur- EU Trade Agreement that will accelerate the deforestation of the Amazon must be stopped. The list of petitions are given below:
Campact: 526,000+ signatures 454,000+ signatures
Rainforest Rescue: 349,000+ signatures
Greenpeace Germany: 138,000+ signatures
Foodwatch: 111,000+ signatures
DUH (Deutsche Umwelthilfe): 86,000+ signatures
MesOpinions: 21,000+

[2] August’s fires in the Amazon are at their highest levels in a decade, Unearthed, 13.08.2020

[3] There has been a 34% increase in deforestation alerts in the Brazilian Amazon in the past 12 months (Aug 2019 – Jul 2020) compared to the same period in 2018/19. Source: Brazil’s National Space Research Institute INPE.

[4] Brazil is the single biggest exporter of agricultural goods to the EU. (Source: European Commission) The EU imports 100,000 tonnes of Brazilian beef every year, which accounts for a quarter of EU beef imports. (Source: European Commission, Trade Statistics)
In addition, Brazil is by far the largest importer of soybeans to the EU, which is mainly used as animal feed in meat production. In the 2019/20 trading year, the EU imported 6.7 million tons of soybeans from Brazil (Source: EU Trade Data), more than half of total EU imports. Due to its dependency on imported soya, meat production in Europe also exerts pressure to expand agricultural land in Brazil.

Despite the significance of beef and soy imports from Brazil and their connection with deforestation, the EU has so far failed to oblige importers to prove that the beef and soya entering the EU market did not contribute to deforestation. A study from July 2020, published in Science magazine, shows that about a fifth of beef and soy exports from the Brazilian Amazon and the adjacent Cerrado region to the EU has contributed to deforestation.


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