AUSTRIAN VOTE SHOWS MERCOSUR CONSENSUS FALLING APART

20 SEPTEMBER 2019

ICSA president Edmond Phelan has suggested that the EU consensus in favour of a Mercosur deal is starting to fall apart with the vote in the Austrian parliament to oppose the deal. “The Austrian parliament has voted in recent days to reject Mercosur. This vote while not decisive is significant given that Austria, as a country which doesn’t have huge beef exports, was not one of the more vociferous opponents of the deal.

It seems that there is increasing unease that the costs outweigh the benefits particularly on environmental grounds. In simple terms, Mercosur means more cars sold to South America in return for more beef shipped to Europe even though our markets are already saturated. In particular, the less sustainable South American beef will displace much more sustainable Irish beef at a huge cost to rural communities in Ireland.

However, from an EU perspective, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Brazilians cannot be trusted to look after the Amazon rain forest and therefore, the EU is potentially culpable for rain forest destruction.

This deal, if it goes ahead, will mean that the EU will lose all moral authority to be a leader on climate change. The EU cannot expect European farmers to cut back for reasons of climate change while encouraging the expansion of Brazilian beef.

ICSA is now calling on the Taoiseach to remove all ambiguity from his recent statements on Mercosur and make a clear statement that Ireland will not support this deal which has already been shown to be a disaster from the perspective of rural Ireland.”

ENDS