Ireland will not ratify Mercosur trade deal in current format, Varadkar says

The Tánaiste said: "We won't ratify it or vote for it, because we're not satisfied with the environmental protections."
Ireland will not ratify Mercosur trade deal in current format, Varadkar says

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also said Ireland will do the heavy lifting of the climate action plan in the next 10 years. Photo: Julien Behal

Ireland will not ratify the Mercosur trade deal in its current form, the Tánaiste says.

Leo Varadkar said, however, that the Government cannot argue against the deal in a bid to protect Ireland's beef farmers from competition with Brazilian beef.

Mr Varadkar told RTÉ radio's Morning Ireland that the Climate Action Plan gives "certainty" to farmers but said there was "misinformation" being spread about the trade deal.

"A lot of misinformation being put out about this, particularly by the main opposition party, that agreement has not been ratified. And this government, and as the Minister of Trade by the way, this government said that we will not sign up to that agreement and we won't ratify it or vote for it, because we're not satisfied with the environmental protections.

"And we're not alone in that - France is with us on that, Austria and other countries. But for me to make that argument credibly in Brussels, and I will make that argument credibly in Brussels and in Geneva and other places that I go, we need to pull our socks up environmentally. 

We can't say that we're against ratifying that agreement, because we want to protect our own farmers - that won't wash.

"We have to say that we're against ratifying that agreement, because the environmental standards in Brazil aren't high enough, but we have to do better to be credible."

Mr Varadkar said that the Climate Plan published yesterday will take some time to implement.

“Is it going to take a generation to make the changes we need? Yes, but we're going to do the heavy lifting in the next 10 years.”

The planned changes, especially in the area of energy production, made economic sense and would mean a more secure supply at a better price, he said.

“We’re halfway to where we need to be,” he added.

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