Brazil's VP Mourão plays down Amazon fires, says EU farmers holding up Mercosur deal

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's Vice-President Hamilton Mourao reacts during the swearing-in ceremony of Brazil's new Health Minister Nelson Teich, at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, amid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brasilia, Brazil, April 17, 2020. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s Vice President Hamilton Mourão played down the fires raging in the dry season in the Amazon on Thursday, saying it was “surreal” how they are being seen abroad as if the whole rainforest was on fire.

Mourão said it did not appear that the EU-Mercosur free trade talks were not reaching a conclusive agreement and he blamed government opponents and European farmers who are unable to compete for the criticism of Brazil’s environmental policies that have fueled resistance in Europe to deal with the South American trade bloc.

Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello