Chancellor Angela Merkel believes the European Union should ratify its trade deal with the Mercosur countries and Emmanuel Macron’s threat to block the accord won’t help protect the Amazon jungle, a German government spokesman said.
The French leader on Friday said he won’t approve the Mercosur deal, agreed to just eight weeks ago, because of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s persistent violations of his commitments on tackling climate change. As Group of Seven leaders begin to arrive in Biarritz, France, for a summit that starts Saturday, Macron and Bolsonaro clashed publicly over Brazil’s handling of a record surge in forest fires in the Amazon.
Outraged over the Amazon fires and possibly riled up by the Brazilian leader’s personal attacks, Macron branded Bolsonaro a liar and said he won’t ratify the trade deal with the South American bloc in its current form.
His comments appeared to have caught his EU allies by surprise.
Merkel’s spokesman said that shooting down the Mercosur trade deal won’t slow the process of deforestation in Brazil and actually contains binding commitments on climate protection. He said threatening to block the accord is not the appropriate response to what is happening in Brazil.
The rift between the EU’s most important leaders comes at the worst possible moment for the bloc, with U.K.’s Boris Johnson seeking to divide them over Brexit and Donald Trump cranking up the pressure on a host of issues from trade to Iran and economic policy.