Lula da Silva: "I have rarely seen so much economic and political interest from the EU towards Latin America" ​​| International

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The President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, returns to his country convinced that the EU-Celac (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) summit held this Monday and Tuesday has been "extremely successful." "Of all the meetings in which I participated with the EU, this has been the most successful meeting of all," said the president. Lula is clear about the reason: "Rarely have I seen so much political and economic interest from the EU countries towards Latin America."

The assessment of the president of Brazil, the main political and economic referent in the region, leaves no doubt about the outcome of the summit. Nor is the Brazilian deceived about what has led Europe to go from apathy of doing nothing to maximum interest in the region: "Possibly because of the dispute between the United States and China, possibly because of China's investments in Africa and Latin America, possibly along the new Silk Road [nombre del programa inversor chino]possibly because of the war [de Ucrania]”. But Lula appreciates the concrete result: "The European Union showed great interest in investing by announcing an investment of 45,000 million euros."

At the beginning of the summit, the Brazilian (in office between 2003 and 2011 and again since last January) had issued a blunt warning. Neither he nor the other Latin American leaders - and especially the Argentine Alberto Fernández - were about to allow past situations, "extractivist logics" that only seek raw materials from the region without taking into account its development. And according to what was said early this Wednesday in his assessment of the meeting before the press, Lula was satisfied with the result, noting that the EU has also promised "to help finance 100,000 million dollars for combat deforestation of the jungle, be it the Amazon or another jungle”.

The result is positive for the Brazilian leader, to the point that he has also been "very optimistic" with the possibility that the ratification of the trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur, an economic bloc made up of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, It may arrive this year, a deadline that has also been set by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Pending final approval since June 2019, at the beginning of this year the EU sent the Mercosur countries an "additional instrument" to the text of the agreement in which it called for more commitments to deforestation, environmental and social sustainability, and even , a sanctioning chapter for non-compliance. This did not sit well on the other side of the Atlantic, mainly in Brazil. Now, on the other hand, Lula sees the situation as possible and has promised to send the South American response "in two or three weeks."

However, in their responses this Wednesday it has become clear that optimism does not mean that they have put aside their most thorny positions to finish the chapter on the great trade agreement (between the two markets there are close to 800 million consumers). For Brazil, it is important that the issue of public procurement be addressed in the so-called additional instrument, something that the European Union resists because it believes that it would mean opening the main text, which took more than 20 years to agree on. “Public procurement is an industrial policy instrument for everyone. It is for the United States, for China, for France... In France, government purchases are a matter of sovereignty", he pointed out before concluding that they also have this character sovereign for him.

What has not changed the opinion of the Brazilian president is his position on the war in Ukraine, an issue that has consumed a lot of time at the summit and was on the verge of derailing the final declaration. He is sympathetic to the fear of the countries closest geographically to the conflict. However, he maintains his position of seeking a negotiated solution to the war. “It will take a group of countries that can talk to Russia and Ukraine by the time that time comes,” he added. Lula has even been critical of his Chilean counterpart, Gabriel Boric, probably the Latin American leader who has most strongly condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine. “Possibly, because it must have been Boric's first meeting of the European Union with Latin America, he has a little more anxiety than the others. Only that”, he replied when asked about the words of the Chilean demanding “clarity” about “an unacceptable imperial war of aggression, in which international law is violated”.

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