Brazil’s Lula to work for consensus on the world stage

Davos, Switzerland, Jan 17 (EFE).- Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will use his country’s turns as chair of the G20, BRICS and South America’s Mercosur trade bloc to strive for agreement in areas such as democracy, peace, sustainability and reducing inequality, his finance minister said here Tuesday.

“President Lula is a politician with great skill as a diplomat and feels comfortable talking to different people, including those with different points of view, to reach consensus,” Fernando Haddad said during a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) devoted to Brazil.

“It is the moment to take advantage of those capabilities of Lula,” the minister said.

Brazil will assume the presidency of the G20 from India in December 2023, while its next term as host of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) begins in January 2024.

At the end of this year, the giant South American nation will occupy the post of president pro tempore of Mercosur, comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

“We are beginning to prepare an ambitious international agenda,” Haddad said in Davos, adding that Lula sees peace as the top priority.

“The world wants to achieve peace, but we must work to achieve it,” the finance minister said.

Lula also wants to emphasize efforts to reduce inequality.

“We must use the experience of Brazil and of other countries to end hunger,” Haddad said, referring to one of the accomplishments of Lula’s previous 2003-2011 tenure as president.

Haddad and Environment Minister Marina Silva, who joined her Cabinet colleague in representing Brazil at WEF, both spoke of Lula’s wish to put the issue of climate change at the center of the global dialogue.

Silva reaffirmed the commitment of the Lula administration to reduce deforestation in Amazonia to zero by 2030 and said that Brazil is in consultations with other countries about establishing international targets for curbing the destruction of forests.

The new government is already working to reverse the damage caused by the environmental policies of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, she said.

On the domestic front, Haddad said that the administration is confident that the tax reform it plans to propose will eliminate the budget deficit Lula inherited from Bolsonaro.

“If was analyze the historical series, what we want is that revenue and spending go back to the same level that they had before the (Covid-19) pandemic, which was 18.7 percent (of gross domestic product). If we manage to return to that level, we will eliminate the deficit in two years,” the finance minister said.

He said that during Lula’s first two administrations, Brazil’s economy grew by 4 percent annually on average, compared with a global rate of 2.5 percent, and that growth was accompanied by “social justice and environmental sustainability.” EFE cm/dr

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