The Austrian Parliament has voted against the planned free trade agreement between the EU and the South American Mercosur states. The EU subcommittee in the National Council voted against the agreement by a majority.
This will oblige the Austrian government to a no vote at EU level and put a stop to the pact, because decisions in the EU Council must be unanimous. Almost all parties agreed to the motion of the SPÖ to reject the agreement, and surprisingly also the ÖVP by former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
The Mercosur agreement is highly controversial. Most recently, France, Ireland and Luxembourg vetoed the ratification of the treaty, partly because of the fires in the Amazon and the dealings of Brazil's President Bolsonaro with them.
Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told the SPIEGEL that a trade agreement would only make sense if "at least in large part have similar values." Climate and environmental protection but Bolsonaro obviously do not care. "So," says Asselborn, "one of the main conditions for the contract is no longer met." The Luxembourg Government has decided to "put the procedure on hold".
More than two decades of negotiations
The German government, on the other hand, wants to continue holding on to the trade agreement. This contains "an important lever to strengthen the ties between the Mercosur partners and multilateral environmental and climate agreements", the Federal Ministry of Economics writes in response to a small request from the left. The contract binds the partners to the Paris Climate Agreement "together with its agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stop the illegal logging of forests".
The EU Commission had only reached agreement with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay in June after more than two decades of negotiations. However, the agreement, which would lead to the largest free trade area in the world, still has to be ratified by all EU Member States.