The conditions that would allow the European Union to conclude a trade agreement with Mercosur have not been met, said European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic on Wednesday, but negotiations continue.
The planned free trade agreement has undergone thorough political analysis in recent weeks, amid protests from farmers who claim to be harmed by cheap imports from countries that do not respect Europe’s high environmental standards.
“The Commission’s assessment is that the conditions for concluding the agreement with Mercosur have not been met,” Sefcovic told the European Parliament on Wednesday.
A Commission spokesman told Reuters that negotiations on the agreement continue.
The European Union and Mercosur, which comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, have been in negotiations for years on the agreement, with the EU pushing for stronger guarantees on climate change and deforestation in recent negotiations.
France has repeatedly expressed reservations about the EU-Mercosur agreement, and President Emmanuel Macron told Brussels last week that it would be impossible to conclude negotiations under current conditions.
With farmers organizing major protests in France and polls indicating gains for the far-right in the European Parliament elections in June, Macron is under pressure to appease farmers who are angry about rising costs and cheap food imports.
The EU governments and the European Parliament need to approve any trade agreement reached by the Commission.