Malta has remained silent on whether it will take any action in light of the Amazon rainforest fires amid calls on EU member states to veto a proposed trade deal with South American nation.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has repeatedly flagged the dangers of climate change, once stating that the EU should lead the global fight against it. However, he has not confirmed whether Malta will follow in the footsteps of France and Ireland in threatening to withdraw from the trade deal unless Brazil introduces safeguards for the world’s largest rainforest.
Lovin Malta has reached out to the environment ministry to ask whether such plans are on the table but has yet to receive a response.
The Group of Seven, an international intergovernmental organisation, yesterday pledged to donate €18 million towards efforts in the Amazon as fires continue to engulf large areas of the rainforest. The news was announced yesterday by the French and Chilean presidents.
Speaking at yesterday’s G7 Summit, France’s president Emmanual Macron said: “We must respond to the call of the forest which is burning today in the Amazon,” as President Sebastian Pinera of Chile, a guest at the event, outlined how “countries of the Amazon are in dire need of fire brigades and water bomber planes.”
Almost 80,000 individual forest fires have been reported in Brazil since the start of 2019 – half of which have started within the Amazon basin.
Malta’s own NGOs have been requesting that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his Government take a stand as forefront members of the EU and discuss the option of joining the proposed veto of EU-South America trade deals recently drafted between Europe and Latin America in an attempt to increase pressure on the South American countries bordering the Amazon rainforest. No comments on the fires or situation in Brazil have been made by any member of Maltese government.
The situation was declared an “international crisis” by Macron who made it a priority of the summit this month, with world leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States in attendance, the discussion to assist with the efforts of putting the fires out was a hot topic.
Macron threatened to veto the EU-SA trade deal, slating Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro for his scepticism on climate change and urging the country to step up and protect the forest from logging and mining, as well as the threat of livestock expansion into the recently burnt down areas.
Bolsonaro lashed at the criticism and suggested that NGOs were setting the fires deliberately to jeopardise his position but failed to suffice any credible evidence.
On Saturday and Sunday, Bolsonaro caved to the earlier threats and deployed two aircrafts to douse fires that were burning over a region of forest crucial to maintaining the global climate’s stability. He also gave authority to the army to assist in tackling the blaze from the ground.