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MEPs call to block Mercosur deal over Amazon deforestation

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MEPs call to block Mercosur deal over Amazon deforestation
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BRUNO KELLY
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EU-Mercosur

Pressure is mounting on EU leaders to act against deforestation in Brazil, amid major fires in the region.

Some MEPs are calling for the parliament to block the EU-Mercosur deal unless the government honours its environmental commitments.

"We have to keep representatives of the political idiotism in leading positions under pressure. In the case of Brazil, the EU-Mercosur agreement will come back to the European Parliament in a couple of weeks or months. We can not sign this, we can not approve this until Brazil gives guarantees to stop this deforestation which is against the whole of the humanity," Istvan Ujhelyi, Hungarian Socialist MEP told Euronews.

Environmentalists accuse Brazil's president of cutting protection to the area deemed crucial to combatting climate change.

Ireland and France have already threatened to block the free trade deal with South American countries, but the European Commission defended the agreement.

"The best tools that we have is the EU-Mercosur agreement which for the first time anchors Brazil into the Paris agreement. It's actually the first trade agreement which contains binding committment to effectively implement the Paris Accord as well as other multilateral environmental agreements. It's a way of working with Brazil to push and encourage each other to live up to the committments we have made together in the Paris agreement and work together in other environmental issues. And I think there are also instruments with regards to the enforcement of these committments," Mina Andreeva, Spokesperson, European Commission told our reporter.

The controversial EU-Mercosur trade deal was reached in June after 20 years of talks. Ireland and France would need the support of other EU countries if they want it blocked.

And the rest of the news in brief:

Brexit: The number of EU citizens moving to the UK for work has halved since the Brexit referendum. Statistics show the number plummeted from 190,000 from June 2016 to 92,000 by March 2019. Experts believe the decline can be linked to the weak pound and the uncertainty over Brexit.

Belgium Commission battle: Belgium will likely propose two candidates for EU Commissioner from across the political divide. The Socialist Party wants the job to go to Laurette Onkelinx rather than to Foreign Minister Didier Reynders whose name has being floated for weeks. Belgium has been without a government since elections in May, but the deadline for member states to nominate their picks is Monday.

New build: The European Commission is planning on building a new conference center in Brussels. Its three-decades-old existing event venue no longer meets current energy consumption and safety regulations. The new building's construction is expected to carry a price tag of more than 150 million euro.

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