Brazil’s Lula says EU-Mercosur trade talks marred by “threats”

Paris, Jun 23 (EFE).- Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva complained here Friday about the lack of progress in negotiations on a trade accord between the European Union and Mercosur, accusing unspecified European governments of making “threats.”

“I have no request beyond that, to have an accord with the European Union,” he said at the conclusion of a summit in Paris on a new Global Financing Pact to address climate change, convened by French President Emmanuel Macron.

The “additional burden” that some EU members are seeking to impose on Mercosur, comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, no agreement will be possible, Lula said.

“I am asking for an answer. How can you have a strategic partnership with threats made against strategic partners?,” the Brazilian said in front of Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Lula, 77, touched on the EU-Mercosur issue after addressing the agenda of the summit, whose avowed purpose was laying the basis for a new approach to helping developing countries simultaneously lift their people out of poverty and take action on climate change.

He recalled that during his first two terms as Brazil’s president, from 2003-2011, and the five years of successor Dilma Rousseff’s mandate, the giant South American nation was recognized by the United Nations as having virtually eradicated hunger.

But, Lula added, when he returned to the presidency at the start of this year, he confronted a situation where 33 million Brazilians lack reliable, adequate provision of food.

He said that his third term also began with Brazilian democracy under threat due to the “fascist,” referring to right-wing predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

Lula said that his government does not view climate change as a “secondary” issue, pointing to his pledge to eliminate deforestation in Amazonia by 2030.

“We must restore the degraded land, then we must likewise focus on international accords, trade accords,” he said.

Following the summit closing ceremony, Lula and Macron had a 90-minute working lunch at the Elysee Palace that included discussion of the stalled EU-Mercosur talks, Brazilian officials said, though without providing any details.

The Brazilian president has made it clear that the conditions now being demanded by some EU government “are unacceptable” to Mercosur, especially those pertaining to climate change.

“No country has respected the Copenhagen and Paris accords (on climate),” Lula said Friday, calling for a “little more flexibility” in the interest of reaching an agreement that is good for everyone.

France is among the EU members that have raised the most objections during the more than two decades of trade negotiations with Mercosur, which gained renewed impetus with Lula’s return to power in Brazil.

Next month, representatives of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) are set to meet in Brussels with EU leaders in connection with Spain’s term in the bloc’s rotating presidency. EFE ngp-atc/dr

Related Articles

Back to top button