“Believe me, when France wants something in Europe, it has enough clout to impose it,” Le Maire said during a TV interview with CNEWS.
“There will be a showdown and France will do everything necessary to ensure that the Mercosur agreement as it stands today is not signed,” Le Maire said. “It is only thanks to the president of the republic, and only thanks to him, that this agreement has not been signed.”
As rural protests escalate, France claimed that Brussels halted trade talks with Mercosur after Macron’s intervention. But both the European Commission and Mercosur diplomats rejected the French assertion, saying negotiators were due to reconvene in mid-February.
In order to block a trade deal in the Council — the intergovernmental branch of the EU — opponents would, under the bloc’s rules, have to muster a so-called qualified minority of votes.
“The Mercosur agreement as it stands is not good for our breeders, it cannot and must not be signed as it stands, it will not be signed as it stands,” Le Maire said, referring to fears of an influx of Latin American beef imports that are one concern of protesting French farmers.