The European Commission said that it was continuing to pursue a trade agreement with the Mercosur bloc of countries, a day after the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said it understood the EU had put an end to talks.
"The discussions are continuing and the European Union continues to fulfil its objective of achieving an agreement that respects our sustainability goals and respects our sensitivities, particularly in agriculture," a Commission spokesperson said.
A French presidential adviser said on Monday that the EU understood it was impossible to reach a deal in current conditions.
"It is our understanding it has instructed its negotiators to put an end to the negotiation session underway in Brazil and in particular cancel the visit of the Commission's vice-president that had been envisaged in view of a conclusion," the adviser added.
The Commission spokesperson said that Macron and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had been in contact, but declined to comment on their discussions.
Ready To Travel To Latin America
They added that Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, who oversees trade, was ready to travel to Latin America if a deal could be reached.
"But on the basis of the last few meetings we have had that does not appear to be the case right now," the spokesperson said.
The European Union and the Mercosur bloc of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay agreed on a trade accord text in 2019 after 20 years of on-off negotiations. Several other EU members back the deal. Talks resumed after the EU sought assurances on climate change and deforestation.
France has repeatedly expressed reservations about the EU-Mercosur deal and said its farmers have objected to the prospect of allowing cheap food imports, notably beef, that do not meet strict EU standards.