Ireland to try block Mercosur trade deal because of concerns over Amazon fires

epa07663351 Irish Prime Minister (An Taisoeach) Leo Varadkar holds a news conference at the end of a European Council Summit in Brussels, Belgium, 21 June 2019. European leaders take the relevant decisions on appointments for the next institutional cycle and adopt the EU's strategic agenda for 2019-2024. EPA-EFE/JULIEN WARNAND

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As wildfires rage through the Brazilian Amazon, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said Dublin will vote against a trade deal between the European Union and South American trade bloc Mercosur unless Brazil takes action to protect the rainforest.

Varadkar said in a statement he was very concerned at the record levels of rainforest destruction and said the Irish government would closely monitor Brazil’s environmental actions in the two years until the Mercosur deal is ratified.

Vast tracts of the Amazon are currently ablaze in what is known as the burning season. Environmentalists have blamed deforestation for an increase in fires and accuse Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro on cutting protection of an area deemed crucial in combating climate change.

Varadkar said Bolsonaro’s effort to blame non-government environmental organisations for the fires was “Orwellian”.

 

Via Reuters/ Irish Times

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