A new poll shows that the grand majority of Europe’s people favors implementing effective protections of the Brazilian Amazon, ending deforestation there, before the EU agrees to ratify the free trade agreement with Mercosur (composed of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay).
The EU/Mercosur agreement, when or if signed, would be the biggest trade deal in history, worth US$19 trillion, and would greatly benefit Brazilian agricultural commodities producers and the nation’s struggling economy. However, Latin America's largest economy poor environmental record under President Jair Bolsonaro could now doom the agreement, as the EU’s conservation-sensitive public rejects Mercosur.
The new poll, conducted by YouGov, a London-based public opinion and market research company, interviewed 12,703 people via the Internet. An average of 75% of respondents aged 18+ across 12 European countries — France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, the UK, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Austria — believe that their governments should halt ratification of the free trade deal at least until the deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is halted. They agree that trade deal approval should be paused, even if a delay would reduce European exports to the South American countries.
Only 12% of respondents wish for EU-Mercosur agreement ratification, despite escalating Amazon deforestation.
Conducted between 12 and 21 January 2021 at the request of the NGO Rainforest Foundation Norway, the survey revealed that the Portuguese people are most opposed to the agreement, with 85% against ratification. The public in other nations showed similar strong support for an end to Amazon deforestation before EU-Mercosur accord approval: United Kingdom (79%), France (78%), the Netherlands and Spain (77%), Belgium (76%), Germany and Austria (75%), Denmark (73%), Finland, Norway and Sweden (69%).
“The Mercosur deal is important for the Brazilian government,” said Marcio Astrini at Observatório do Clima, a network of Brazilian environmental NGOs, who commented on the poll results. “Our message to European leaders is that any [trade] deal involving Brazil must be conditional on concrete measures and verifiable results to stop the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. We are happy to note that the European public agrees. We hope European politicians will listen too.”
Divided by age group, respondents aged 55 and over were most opposed to ratifying the trade agreement without Amazon protections (79%), followed by people between 35 and 54 years of age (74.7%), and between 18 and 34 years of age (70.4%).