Brazil and the EU share a long-standing relationship based on strong cultural, historical, political and economic ties based on shared core values. In fact, Brazil was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the EU. In the 1960s, the two parties exchanged formal diplomatic Missions. The EU together with twenty-three EU member states currently have a diplomatic presence in Brasilia.
In 2007, the EU and Brazil formalised their role as key global partners through the establishment of the formal EU-Brazil Strategic Partnership. The new partnership was launched at the 1st EU-Brazil Summit held in Lisbon in 2007.
This partnership covers a range of issues including:
- human rights
- environment and climate change
- sustainable energy
- sustainable development
- economic and financial issues,
- information society
- support to EU-Mercosur relations
- stability and prosperity in Latin America.
Summits provide progress
These summit meetings have proved to be effective in strengthening political dialogue and cooperation between the two sides. So far, seven editions of the summit have taken place.
The 7th EU-Brazil Summit was held in Brussels in 2014. It focused on three key areas: how to accelerate economic growth and job creation, how to tackle global challenges such as climate change and cyber security and how to cooperate more effectively on foreign and security policy issues.
Political and Policy Dialogues
To date, in the context of the Strategic Partnership, regular dialogues have been set up in over 30 areas such as political issues and human rights; foreign affairs, multilateral issues, cyber security, environment and climate change; culture and education; maritime and air transport; energy; and science and innovation.
Examples of recent High Level Political Dialogues include the following:
Political dialogue and foreign/multilateral affairs:
- The 6th meeting of the High Level Political Dialogue between Brazil and the European Union (EU) took place in Brasilia on November 19th, 2019. The delegations had an open and constructive exchange on a wide range of subjects, including the evolution of bilateral relations and their strategic partnership. Priorities for the new Brazilian Government as well as perspectives for the new European Commission have been discussed, alongside with global and regional issues. Both parties reaffirmed their commitment to the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement.
- On the 7th EU-Brazil High-Level Political Dialogue which took place by videoconference on 18th December 2020, the two Delegations had a very open and fruitful exchange on a wide range of subjects, including the state of play of bilateral relations, defence, trade policy, environmental and security matters, as well as on regional and multilateral affairs. They exchanged views on the current situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and agreed to continue the bilateral dialogue and cooperation on the ongoing sanitary crisis, as well as on the economic and social recovery process in both regions.
In the area of human rights:
- The 8th High Level Dialogue on Human Rights which took place in Brussels on 9th October 2019, which provided a renewed opportunity for a wide-ranging exchange of views on bilateral and multilateral matters, including strengthening the rights of women and LGBTI, issues of racism and discrimination, the rights of indigenous peoples, human rights defenders, as well as persons with disabilities and other topics of mutual interest.
- The 9th EU-Brazil Human Rights Dialogue took place by videoconference on 1st December 2020. It constituted a renewed opportunity for a wide-ranging exchange of views on bilateral and multilateral matters, notably strengthening the rights of women, minorities and vulnerable groups, such as indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, LGBTI persons, migrants and refugees and human rights defenders. The two parties also addressed the issues of freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, business and human rights and the protection of the right to health, access to information and other fundamental freedoms in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both sides also emphasised the importance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society.
The Human Rights Dialogues are usually preceded by a EU-Brazil Civil Society Seminar which gathers European and Brazilian civil society representatives and addresses the current situation and best practices related to human rights in the European Union and Brazil, making recommendations for the Dialogue. A civil society representative then usually presents and discusses the Seminar’s conclusions and recommendations with the representatives of the EU and Brazil during the Dialogue.
The 8th and most recent High Level EU-Brazil Environmental Dialogue took place by the means of a video conference on 16th October 2020 and focused on key environmental aspects of the bilateral and multilateral relations, with biodiversity, forests, and water and waste management figuring prominently in the discussions.
EU-Mercosur Association Agreement
Negotiations for the conclusion of an Association Agreement between the European Union and the four founding members of Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) started in 2000, on the basis of Council negotiating directives of 1999. Currently, EU-Mercosur relations are governed by the 1995 Interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement. The Association Agreement aims to further cement the strategic partnership between the EU and Mercosur countries in key areas of joint interest such as climate change, building sustainable global value chains and promoting digital development. Following the conclusion of negotiations in June 2020, both parties are preparing the conditions for ratification.