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 Full text 
Friday, 19 June 2020 - Brussels Revised edition

Land grabbing and deforestation in the Amazonas (debate)

  Anna Cavazzini, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, first of all, I want to express my solidarity with the people in the Amazon region and especially in Brazil suffering from the outbreak of COVID—19 and losing family members and friends. In this situation, what can be more shocking than hearing a minister calling to get rid of environmental protection while people are distracted by COVID—19? This is what Brazilian Environment Minister, Ricardo Salles, was caught saying on video.

Deforestation in the Amazon keeps increasing and this is a direct consequence of government decisions. Control agencies dismantled, penalty payments for illegal logging stopped and, if this were not enough, the Bolsonaro administration is supporting a law which would legalise land grabbing in the Amazon. This law could be passed by Congress at any moment. I support everyone on the ground fighting these destructive policies and call on my colleagues in the Brazilian Congress to stop this course of action, especially the law on land grabbing.

But, of course, we in Europe also have a role to play. Supermarkets in the UK threatened to boycott agricultural products from Brazil if the land grabbing law is passed. In the space of a week, 350 000 people in Germany have signed a petition to ask German supermarkets to do the same and we urgently need deforestation—free supply chains and to end our dependency on the soil.

Let’s face it, I think the Mercosur agreement is dead. Resistance was big before, but now in this line that leads Brazilian environmental policy, I don’t see any chance for that deal.

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