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Talking Europe

Amazon rainforest fires: What role for Europe?

This week's topic is geographically far from Brussels. We're talking about the Amazon rainforest: the lush ecosystem that covers 40% of South America, with its largest portion in Brazil. It's a place that's home to many indigenous peoples, to one in 10 of our planet's known species - and it’s also known as the "lungs of the Earth" for its carbon-capturing properties.

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Around 17 percent of the Amazon has been destroyed over the last half-century. This summer, particularly vast fires drew Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro into a head-on clash with various European leaders, notably France’s Emmanuel Macron.

It’s been documented that farmers and loggers have been destroying the forest to expand their economic opportunities – with Brazil’s president openly pledging at the United Nations to reduce the size of protected indigenous territories and to open such areas up to commercial mining.

In our programme we ask what role – if any – the EU can have in halting these destructive fires.

This all coming as the EU looks to finalise – or not – an enormous free trade deal with South American countries, known as Mercosur.

Presented by Catherine Nicholson

Produced by Isabelle Romero, Perrine Desplats and Mathilde Bénézet

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