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Austrian MPs vote to oppose EU-Mercosur pact

Austrian lawmakers have voted to oppose a proposed free trade pact between the European Union and the Mercosur bloc of four South American countries, highlighting resistance to the deal from some EU members.

Nearly all parties in the Austrian parliament’s EU subcommittee voted against the draft for a EU-Mercosur free trade agreement late on Wednesday. That means the government has been told to vote against the deal, Reuters said.

Mercosur, which groups Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, agreed one of the world’s biggest trade deals with the 28-country EU this summer, after 20 years of negotiations. Brazil is currently under pressure from European countries over its environmental policies and an epidemic of forest fires in the Amazon basin.

A European Commission spokeswoman said both parties to the deal were performing a “legal revision” to finalize the text, which would be submitted to the European Council of EU governments and the European Parliament. If they approve the deal, it would then go to individual EU countries for ratification.

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