The thousands of wildfires blazing in the Amazon rainforest could jeopardize the finalization of the trade accord that has yet to be ratified by the European Union and the Mercosur bloc of countries.
Several European leaders expressed their concerns over the fires, with Emmanuel Macron, the French president, tweeting “Our house is burning.” France and Ireland warned Brazil that they would call their parliaments to vote against the ratification of the pact if the South American country did not exhibit a strong commitment to contain the fires.
Svenja Schulze, the German Environment Minister, in turn, stated that guarantees from the Brazilian government to protect the rainforest should be required in order to finalize the trade deal, but later a spokesperson for the German government said that scrapping the deal would not be the proper response to the Amazon fires.
Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president, on the other hand, argued that the fires do not by themselves justify any sanctions imposed on Brazil, blaming non-governmental organizations and farmers for the disaster.
More than half of the Amazon rainforest, which is dubbed ‘the lung of Earth’ for the amounts of oxygen it releases, is Brazilian territory. Ravaging fires are a usual phenomenon, but they have increased by almost 80 percent this year, alarming environmentalists and people around the world.
The Amazon wildfires issue was expected to be among the topics at the forefront of the Group of Seven (G7) summit held in Biarritz, France.