Farmers’ protests force Macron to tell EU to halt South American deal

Paris, Jan 24, (dpa/GNA) – French President, Emmanuel Macron, is putting pressure on the European Union to postpone the conclusion of a free trade agreement with the South American economic alliance Mercosur, in light of farmers’ protests in Europe.

“We do not want the agreement to be signed in its current form,” Macron said on Tuesday in Stockholm, during a state visit to Sweden.

In a week-long fight for better working conditions, French farmers continued their blockade of motorways around Paris on Tuesday. All eight motorways leading to the capital saw disruptions, according to the agricultural union FNSEA. Blockades of highways and some large supermarkets, also occurred in other parts of France.

Macron believes the long-negotiated deal is already partly obsolete, and does not impose the same rules on farmers or Mercosur industrialists, which apply in the EU.

Macron has told European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, that it would be impossible to conclude the agreement at the moment, in view of farmer protests which have also hit other EU nations, such as Germany, the Élysée Palace said.

The French assume the commission, has now instructed its negotiators to break off current negotiations in Brazil.

A spokesman for the commission would not confirm a pause in the trade deal negotiations, and did not want to comment on the details of talks between von der Leyen and Macron.

However, he made it clear that the European Commission, does not currently believe that the conditions for concluding an agreement with the South American states have been met.