Luxembourg (AFP)

Luxembourg wants to freeze its participation in the trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur, because of doubts about Brazil's willingness to comply with the 2015 Paris climate agreement, as fires ravage some of the Amazon.

"Minister (of Foreign and European Affairs) Jean Asselborn will propose at the next Governing Council to freeze the decision on the signing of the agreement," said a statement from Asselborn received Sunday. The government meeting is scheduled for early September.

Mr Asselborn pointed out that the agreement negotiated with the South American Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay) contains a chapter dedicated to sustainable development, including "the obligation to ratify and implement the agreement of Paris on climate change ".

The EU-Mercosur agreement concluded in June by the European Commission on behalf of the Member States has yet to be validated by the latter to enter into force.

On Friday, in the midst of international controversy over fires in the Amazon rainforest, French President Emmanuel Macron accused his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro of "lying" about his commitments.

He said, on the eve of the G7 meeting this weekend in Biarritz (France), that in front of "Jair Bolsonaro's inaction on climate change, including on fires", France will say "no" to the treaty of free trade between the EU and Mercosur.

For their part, Spain and Germany are opposed to a blocking of this agreement.

As for the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, he acknowledged that it would be "hard to imagine" that the EU could ratify the treaty with Mercosur as long as Brazil "will allow the destruction" of the Amazon.

"A change of course is necessary," says the Luxembourg minister's statement.

"Luxembourg calls on all partners to open up for dialogue and consultation to work on this change of heart," he added.

Concluded at the end of June after 20 years of negotiations between the two blocs, the EU-Mercosur agreement has been sharply criticized by many NGOs, particularly because President Bolsonaro's pro-agribusiness policy destroys the Amazon rainforest. .

© 2019 AFP