(Bloomberg) -- Germany and Brazil joined forces to increase pressure on French President Emmanuel Macron to drop his opposition to a major trade deal between the European Union and four South American economies.
At a joint news conference after talks Monday in Berlin, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said they remained hopeful the elusive EU-Mercosur deal could still be concluded soon.
Macron said Saturday after talks with Lula at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai that environmental concessions obtained by the EU fall short of what’s needed. The agreement’s finalization was already derailed at the last minute as Argentina isn’t ready to accept new commitments before President-elect Javier Milei takes office.
Lula said that he had told Macron that “when you sit in your seat on the plane, open your heart, talk to your wife and agree to an EU-Mercosur agreement.”
“If that hasn’t touched him, I’m not going to give up on Macron, I’m not going to give up because we’re going to have other meetings, needs and I’m going to keep going until one day I succeed,” he added.
Scholz said he’s convinced that there will be a majority in both the European Council and the European Parliament for the EU-Mercosur deal. In a message clearly directed at Macron, he also urged all sides to compromise to help seal an agreement.
The EU-Mercosur pact would create an integrated market of 780 million consumers, making it the largest in EU history and one of the world’s biggest free trade pacts.
Macron’s objections are significant because the deal may be concluded as a so-called mixed agreement, covering competences of both the EU and member states. That would enable a French veto and require the approval of the 27 national parliaments and some regional ones.
Ahead of a Mercosur summit in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, Lula vowed not to give up until he had spoken to all leaders and heard “no” from all sides.
“On Thursday, at the Mercosur summit, we will have a decisive moment in this negotiation,” he said. “I reiterated to Chancellor Scholz my expectation that the EU will decide whether or not it is interested in concluding a balanced agreement.”
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