The EU-MERCOSUR FTA violates peasant rights and climate commitments

Joint communiqué by the European Coordinator Via Campesina (ECVC) and the Latin American Coordinator of Rural Organizations CLOC – Via Campesina, through which they condemn the EU-MERCOSUR FTA as anti-democratic and violating peasant rights and climate commitments.

This declaration comes at a time when the European Commission and some EU Member States are trying to find a way to approve such an agreement, without taking into account the democratic control of national parliaments, the real impact or the application of the so-called measures . environmental.

As a group of farmers’ and agricultural workers’ organizations from Mercosur and EU countries, we oppose the EU-MERCOSUR FTA. This FTA is based on an outdated paradigm in which agricultural products are treated like any other commodity without regard to human rights, the climate and biodiversity crises, food sovereignty and the rights of food producers to a fair income.

For many years, we farmers, peasants, landless, people of African descent and agricultural workers have suffered the consequences of the regulation of agricultural markets through the international free trade regime. The interests of agrifood companies have systematically prevailed over those of small food producers and agricultural workers.

commodification of land

The price of the food we produce has been artificially decoupled from the cost of local production. We are placed in competition with each other, despite the fact that our production conditions vary enormously from one country to another (for example, with regard to climatic conditions, health, social and environmental standards, cost of labor, access to land and production tools, etc.).

The commodification of land, water and seeds leads to the impoverishment of the rural population. Corporations that progressively take control of food systems can only be “competitive” because they are heavily subsidized with public money and because they are not obliged to pay the sanitary, environmental and social costs of their industrial production model.

EU-MERCOSUR FTA worsens the human rights situation

Our rights, recognized in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, are structurally violated by this international free trade regime. We see no mention of UNDROP in the planned EU-MERCOSUR FTA and we fear that this new FTA could worsen the human rights situation of peasants, small farmers and agricultural workers.

The EU-MERCOSUR agreement, instead of promoting the ecological reterritorialization of our food systems, will increase the transcontinental exchange of agricultural products that can be produced in a sustainable and agroecological way in our territories. From the point of view of a sustainable food system, this is in stark contradiction with all our governments’ commitments in the Paris Agreement on climate and the sustainable development goals.

Unsustainable production models

Such an agreement will encourage unsustainable production models in rural areas, causing even more small and medium-sized food producers to disappear and migrate to urban areas to work in precarious jobs. In the EU, the rural population already represents less than 5% of total employment, while in the MERCOSUR countries, the rural population is among the most marginalized. Does this really align with our governments’ long-term vision for rural areas?

Our governments say that this agreement contains sustainability provisions and takes into account the interests of workers and peasants, but this is not true. On the contrary, they support the interests of an elite in the food industry, responsible for the ecological disaster of our communities.

It is known that the EU-MERCOSUR agreement cannot be democratically ratified. In Europe, the European Commission and some EU member states are pushing to break the deal as a way to circumvent democratic control by national parliaments. Others promote the creation of an additional non-binding document to pretend they are taking environmental concerns into account. We strongly condemn these attempts to greenwash this unsustainable FTA and to ignore the strong democratic opposition this new FTA generates.

It’s time to abandon the free trade paradigm. The EU-MERCOSUR FTA must be abandoned

Instead, like La Vía Campesina, we demand a new international framework for international trade based on food sovereignty. We support international cooperation and solidarity among peoples. Bilateral or bi-regional cooperation agreements must have human rights at their core and, in particular, the rights of food producers recognized in UNDROP. They must allow for genuine agricultural development that prioritizes local food production and agroecology. They must stop the expansion of corporate power in food and agriculture and give priority to small and medium food producers.

As peasants, small farmers and agricultural workers from both continents, we call on all social movements and civil society organizations to oppose the EU-MERCOSUR agreement and demand that our governments stop this agreement.


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