New Austrian government will reject Mercosur deal

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Chancellor Sebastian Kurz | Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz seeks a ‘rejection of the Mercosur trade agreement in its current form.’

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The new Austrian government will not support the deal the EU struck with South American nations in June.

In its government program presented Thursday by the country’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the new government said “no to Mercosur” and sought a “rejection of the Mercosur trade agreement in its current form.”

Austria’s parliament adopted a motion in September to oblige the government to veto ratification of the EU-Mercosur accord in the Council of the EU, which is expected at the end of 2020.

The motion was passed a couple of days before Austria’s election that hardened the position of political parties toward the trade deal, which is unpopular in farming areas in Austria.

The government, a coalition of Austria’s conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Green Party, says it does support an EU trade policy that works on comprehensive trade agreements. In those agreements, Austria demands particular attention for environmental standards and standards for the protection of consumers. It also pleads for enforceable labor and environmental standards in trade agreements.

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