EU chief Donald Tusk blasts the Brazilian government for ‘allowing the destruction of the green lungs of planet Earth’ as he joins fellow European leaders in warning Amazon fires could put South American trade deal at risk
- The Council President echoed Emmanuel Macron’s warning that Jair Bolsonaro
- German Chancellor backed Emmanuel Macron’s call to discuss blaze at summit
- But she gave reassurances to Mercosur trade bloc that it won’t affect EU deal
- It came as world leaders began to gather at the summit in Biarritz on Saturday
EU chief Donald Tusk has ramped up pressure on the Brazilian government to battle back the devastating Amazon rainforest fires by threatening to rip up an impending trade deal.
The Council President echoed Emmanuel Macron’s warning that Jair Bolsonaro’s rampant deforestation agenda – which has been blamed for the inferno – will likely prevent the agreement with the South American Mercosur bloc being struck.
His intervention came as Angela Merkel called on world leaders to sit down and develop a common strategy to tackle the blaze at this weekend’s G7 meeting in Biarritz, France.
Speaking at the summit, Mr Tusk said: ‘We of course stand by the EU-Mercosur agreement, which is also about protecting the climate and the environment.
EU chief Donald Tusk has ramped up pressure on the Brazilian government to battle back the devastating Amazon rainforest fires by threatening to rip up an impending trade deal
The German Chancellor threw her support behind Emmanuel Macron’s (picture in Biarritz) call to discuss the ripping blaze at the summit in this weekend
Rio Branco Firemen tackle fires in the Amazon forest near Rio Branco, Amazonian State of Acre last Saturday
‘But it is hard to imagine a harmonious process of ratification by the European countries as long as the Brazilian government allows for the destruction of the green lungs of planet Earth.
But unlike Mr Tusk, the German Chancellor did not threaten to axe the impending EU trade deal with South America.
In her weekly video message, Mrs Merkel said: ‘Emmanuel Macron is right – our house is burning, and we cannot be silent.’
She said the leaders of the world’s top economic powers are ‘shaken’ by the fires and that they will discuss ‘how we can support and help there, and send a clear call that everything must be done so that the rainforest stops burning’.
A fire burns a field on a farm in the Nova Santa Helena municipality, in the state of Mato Grosso overnight
Mrs Merkel added: ‘Talking to each other is always better than about each other – and the G7 is an excellent opportunity for that’.
She also assured that impeding a trade deal between the European Union and South American trade bloc Mercosur will not help reduce the destruction of rainforest in Brazil.
On Friday, Mr Macron threatened to block the recently agreed trade deal with Mercosur, which also includes Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay
His hardline approach was supported by Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
But the German government said that the deal ‘includes an ambitious sustainability chapter with binding rules on climate protection’, in which both sides committed to implementing the Paris climate accord.
Mr Macron has has downplayed any expectations of a unified front from the leaders of the G7 democracies
Today German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed Macron’s calls for an international meeting, saying the Amazon’s wildfires were an ‘acute emergency’ which belonged on the G7 agenda
A NASA Earth Observatory map shows active fire detection in Brazil last night
It added: ‘The non-conclusion (of the deal) is therefore from our point of view not the appropriate response to what is currently happening in Brazil.’
Mrs Merkel spoke as world leaders converge on the French town for the G7 summit.
The event has emptied out the town famed for its beach on the last week of the summer break.
Mr Macron has has downplayed any expectations of a unified front from the leaders of the G7 democracies.
US president Donald Trump arrives later in the day. At last year’s meeting, Mr Trump left early and repudiated the joint statement from Air Force One.
At the top of the agenda are climate change – and especially the fires burning in the Amazon – and a global economy teetering on the edge of recession.
A house is seen surrounded by land scorched by wildfires near Porto Velho, Brazil