Answer to Written Question: Sustainability impact assessment of the EU-Mercosur trade agreement
(Source: European Parliament)
Answer given by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis
on behalf of the European Commission
The EU-Mercosur negotiations started in 2000 and over the years experienced different phases. They were particularly complex, involving four third countries. The European Commission launched the second EU-Mercosur Sustainability Impact Assessment in 2017 (the first one was completed in 2009) with the intention to finalise and publish it before the end of the negotiations. This, however, did not prove possible following an acceleration of the pace of negotiations.
Sustainable Impact Assessments (SIA) are independent studies conducted by contractors in parallel with the negotiations. The Mercosur SIA could not be completed before the end of the negotiations, due to their highly unpredictable character and complexity. The dynamics and pace of a SIA, consisting of extensive work by the consultant, analysis and consultations within the Commission, with civil society and stakeholders, cannot be made dependent on the negotiation process. The SIA was conducted in parallel with the negotiations, but as a distinct process.
Even if the final report had not been published by the time of the conclusion of the negotiations, the substance of the findings of the Sustainable Impact Assessment (SIA) was at the disposal of negotiators well before that, in time to feed into the negotiations. Given the extensive recommendations on flanking measures, the SIA will be a useful tool in ensuring an informed societal debate during the ratification process and the ensuing work between the EU and Mercosur on the implementation and monitoring of the Agreement.