The Prime Minister, Charles Michel, considered on Tuesday morning that the agricultural strand of the free trade agreement with the Mercosur trading bloc (Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil) “is unacceptable as it stands.” He made this comment a few hours before a meeting of the South American negotiators and European Commissioners in Brussels. The Prime Minister has written to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, to make known his concerns.
One of Charles Michel’s private staff also said today, “The Prime Minister has had a meeting to discuss the issue with the Minister-President, Willy Borsus. Mr Borsus has grave reservations as to the agricultural strand, which in its present form is unacceptable.” He stated that the Prime Minister “champions fair globalisation for our farmers and supports free trade, provided it is within an appropriate regulatory framework.”
The European commissioners for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, and Trade, Cecilia Malmström, are meeting negotiators from the four Mercosur countries to continue negotiations, with a view to reaching agreement. As mentioned above, Charles Michel has written to Jean-Claude Juncker to make known his areas of concern, and has requested that the topic is raised at the next European Council.