Ireland threatens to block free trade deal between EU and Mercosur unless Brazil protects Amazon

Ireland threatens to block free trade deal between EU and Mercosur unless Brazil protects Amazon
# 23 August 2019 12:11 (UTC +04:00)

Ireland has threatened to block the Mercosur trade deal between the EU and South American countries if Brazil does not take steps to protect the burning Amazon rainforest, APA reports citing Sputnik.

The Amazon – the largest rainforest on the planet – has been ravaged by wildfires burning at a record rate for several weeks. Brazil's President Bolsonaro, who has come under international criticism for his Amazon policies, blames the fires on climate campaigners.

“There is no way that Ireland will vote for the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement if Brazil does not honour its environmental commitments,” Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar said in a statement on Thursday.

Brazil's space agency reported this week, citing satellite data, that the Amazon has seen 73,000 fires so far this year, the highest since records began in 2013. It represented a 84 per cent increase from the same period in 2018.

President Bolsonaro, who sacked the head of the agency last month amid differences over its deforestation data, blamed the fires on environmental groups of setting fires in a bid to embarrass the government.

Leo Varadkar branded this accusations “Orwellian”, saying he was “very concerned that this year has seen record levels of destruction of Amazonian forests by fire.”

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