European Commission

dpa/GNA – The European Commission should have vetted the EU-Mercosur trade deal for sustainability issues better before concluding the agreement, European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly said on Friday.

The controversial deal would link trade between the European Union and the Mercosur states: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

It has been criticized for a lack of climate protection, as a leaked copy of the agreement late last year showed that the treaty included no sanctionable clauses for that issue.

The European Ombudsman – who investigates complaints about EU bodies- analyzed the deal following a complaint by five civil society organizations that alleged the EU’s executive body had not conducted an assessment on the effect the deal could have on human rights and the environment.

O’Reilly “found that it was the Commission’s responsibility to ensure the assessment was finalised in good time and that its failure to do so was maladministration,” according to the press release.

The trade deal has been in limbo since it was agreed in June 2019.

It would create the world’s largest free-trade zone, spanning the EU and four Mercosur states, but has not yet been ratified by all member states.

Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest along with other environmental and social rights concerns, led European leaders – notably in France and Germany – to reconsider the accord.

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