A Brazilian judge has demanded an explanation from Emmanuel Macron after complaints about environmental damage near an EDF-controlled hydroelectric power station in the Amazon.
In his judgment taken on Wednesday, magistrate Mirko Vincenzo Giannotte, from a court in the state of Mato Grosso (center-west), asks the French president to "decide on the role of Sinop Energia", of which EDF owns 51 % of actions, “in environmental impacts in Brazil”.
Sinop Energia assured in a press release sent to AFP that it had "rigorously complied with Brazilian legislation and fulfilled all the requirements for obtaining its environmental license".
EDF accused of negligence
Three associations have filed a complaint, accusing EDF of negligence in the prevention of fires which have multiplied since 2018 in the area where the plant is located, near Sinop, a city of 150,000 inhabitants considered as a hub of agro-business.
Judge Giannotte's judgment contains many ironic remarks addressed to the French president, “environmental defender who constantly gives his opinion on the Brazilian government's environmental policy”.
According to the Brazilian press, this magistrate was expected to be appointed to the Supreme Court by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
He asked that the letter rogatory be sent to the Elysée through diplomatic channels.
Jair Bolsonaro and Emmanuel Macron, strained relationship
Jair Bolsonaro and Emmanuel Macron have had numerous battles over forest fires in the Amazon, the Brazilian president accusing his French counterpart of threatening Brazil's "sovereignty" by criticizing its environmental policy.
France is firmly opposed to the ratification of the trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur, doubting in particular Brazil's commitment to defend the environment, in the face of the advance of deforestation and fires in the Amazon. .
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In Brazil, less than 3% of deforestation alerts are processed by the authorities