The Commission's approach to trade negotiations with third countries is criticised in a non-legislative resolution drafted by Georgios Papastamkos (EPP, EL). MEPs urge the Commission not to make concessions to gain access to third country markets at the expense of the EU agricultural sector.
EU farm production guarantees food security and quality, contend MEPs. They want the EU's high standards on the environment, animal and plant welfare and health to be applied to imported goods to guarantee fair competition and protect consumers. An impact assessment should be carried out before any negotiations begin, they say.
The Commission should always ensure "symmetrical tariff concessions" when discussing free trade agreements, especially if with countries with strong agricultural sectors, such as Mercosur, believe MEPs.
Parliament strongly criticises the Commission for resuming negotiations with Mercosur without discussing the matter with Council. It also expresses serious concern about the impact on the EU farm sector of a trade agreement with Mercosur. It calls on the Commission to protect farmers' interests and put forward an impact assessment on the effect of such an agreement, to be debated, before the talks are finalised.