Press play to hearken to this text
“That is the outcome we had been all hoping for.” The middle-left European lawmaker MEP Kathleen Van Brempt captured the temper in Brussels on Monday, because the EU breathed a diplomatic sigh of aid over the victory of left-winger Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva within the second spherical of Brazil’s presidential election.
Brussels has large ambitions in Latin America. The European Union must diversify its commerce flows away from Russia and — to a lesser extent — China. With far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro on his method out of energy, the EU is now eager to revive its ties with Brazil on local weather change, deforestation and commerce.
“I look ahead to working with you to deal with urgent international challenges, from meals safety to commerce and local weather change,” European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted to Lula on Monday morning.
However Brussels could have to attend in line. Russia needs to commerce and China may even be competing for affect within the area, particularly after relations between Brazil and Beijing had soured below Bolsonaro. Chinese language overseas ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian welcomed Lula’s victory on Monday, saying that China needs to boost the excellent strategic partnership with Brazil to a brand new degree.
Essentially the most concrete method for the EU to get its foot within the door is to lastly tie up the unfastened ends with the commerce deal between the EU and the Latin American Mercosur bloc — made up of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
The nearer cooperation wouldn’t simply ease commerce between the economies on either side of the Atlantic, however can be key for Brussels to be much less depending on China’s uncooked supplies for its inexperienced transition.
The Mercosur pact was sealed at a political degree in 2019 however has been successfully on ice since then, principally due to the rampant deforestation of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest below Bolsonaro, which dismayed the EU and French President Emmanuel Macron specifically. Free merchants additionally pointed to extra protectionist considerations, notably in France, which held up progress for the deal over fears of opening the floodgates to imports of Brazilian beef.
Lula’s election often is the key to easing these environmental considerations and unlocking the Mercosur deal. In an enormous win for the worldwide struggle towards local weather change, he has made clear he is eager to deal with deforestation of the Amazon.
From the EU aspect, the political stars are additionally aligned. A variety of trade-friendly nations — the Czechs, the Swedes and the Spanish — are on the helm of the EU’s rotating Council presidency this 12 months and subsequent and have already mentioned they need to get the deal again on observe.
There could also be hassle forward
To get the settlement via the European Parliament, Brussels plans to barter an additional environmental safety doc with the Mercosur bloc to attempt to assuage local weather considerations.
However simply how far these further calls for ought to go is already a delicate dialogue inside the European Fee, and can doubtless show to be much more contentious when it’s mentioned with the European Parliament, EU nations and the Mercosur nations.
“We is not going to nail it on the door of the Berlaymont,” mentioned a senior EU official, referring to the European Fee constructing in Brussels. “We have to play this rigorously.” The official careworn that the EU ought to suggest one thing that’s “extra palatable for the opposite aspect.”
Van Brempt, the commerce committee MEP from the socialists, fired a warning towards an excessive amount of flexibility from Brussels. If the Fee needs this deal to cross via Parliament, further environmental commitments from the Mercosur nations can’t be empty guarantees, she mentioned. If Brazil or the opposite nations don’t stay as much as their guarantees, they need to threat commerce sanctions, in keeping with the EU’s new coverage of making certain commerce offers are inexperienced.
If Mercosur nations have further calls for to deliver to the desk, then so be it, Van Brempt argued. “Now we have to get this deal proper,” she mentioned. “Commerce is a key element of our geopolitical course. For that, a renewed cooperation with Brazil is essential.”
On his finish, Lula has already mentioned he needs to renegotiate some areas of the Mercosur deal in favor of Brazil’s industrial growth. Strengthening Brazilian business was one among his predominant guarantees through the marketing campaign.
“Within the first six months, we are going to conclude the settlement with the European Union,” Lula mentioned in September. That, he mentioned, have to be “an settlement that takes under consideration the necessity for Brazil to industrialize once more.”
Camille Gijs contributed reporting from Prague.
This text is a part of POLITICO Professional
The one-stop-shop resolution for coverage professionals fusing the depth of POLITICO journalism with the ability of expertise
Unique, breaking scoops and insights
Custom-made coverage intelligence platform
A high-level public affairs community