Delegation of the European Union to Brazil

Brazil and the EU

11/05/2016 - 15:08
EU relations with Country

The European Union (EU) and Brazil have a long-standing relationship covering areas such as political cooperation, the economy, trade, investment, climate change and the Mercosur integration process.

Brazil and the EU share a long-standing relationship based on strong cultural and historical ties. 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.

In 2007, the EU recognised Brazil as one of its key global partners through the establishment of the formal EU-Brazil Strategic Partnership.

This partnership covers a range of issues including:

  • climate change
  • sustainable energy
  • the fight against poverty
  • the Mercosur integration process
  • stability and prosperity in Latin America.

Summits provide progress

The new partnership was launched at the 1st EU-Brazil Summit held in Lisbon in 2007.

These summit meetings are organised on an annual basis and have proved to be effective in strengthening political dialogue and cooperation between the two sides.

To date, regular dialogues have been set up in over 15 areas such as: political issues and human rights; environment and climate change; culture and education; maritime and air transport; energy; and science and technology. 

Important developments in recent summits include:

  • The adoption of a Joint Action Plan during the 2nd EU-Brazil Summit in Rio in 2008. The Action Plan is carried out through cooperation between government institutions on policy issues that underpin mutual cooperation.
  • The 3rd EU-Brazil Summit held in Stockholm in 2009 focused on climate change and helped to coordinate positions ahead of the Copenhagen Climate Summit. 
  • The dialogue on climate change continued at the 4th EU-Brazil Summit held in Brasilia in 2010. Other global issues of common interest were discussed, such as the economic and financial crisis, the resumption of EU-Mercosur negotiations and implementation of the EU-Brazil Action Plan.
  • The 5th EU-Brazil Summit took place in Brussels in 2011. Among the issues discussed were the continuing economic and social effects of the financial crisis.
  • The 6th EU-Brazil Summit was held in Brasilia in 2013. Topics discussed included progress on the EU-Brazil Strategic Partnership and the Joint Action Plan 2012-2014, the state of the respective economies and the current issues in the world economy.

Also up for debate in 2013 was a dialogue on agriculture and a summit between the EU and heads of the Latin American/Caribbean countries (the EU-LAC Summit).

Economic relations between the EU and Brazil developed through the summit process. For example, economic issues and financial regulation were high on the agenda of the 2nd EU-Brazil summit.

Meanwhile, the 5th Summit tackled issues such as employment and the social dimensions of globalisation as well as growth opportunities in the emerging green economy.

Among other achievements, the 2013 EU-LAC Summit saw the signing of letters of intent between the EU and Brazil relating to:

  • encouraging tourism and increasing visitor numbers;
  • a Joint Programme on Culture which in part focuses on developing the creative economy and related industries;
  • a €500 million loan agreement for the green energy sector


EU Trade Policy

The EU Commission communication “Trade Policy Review - An Open, Sustainable and Assertive Trade Policy”, adopted on 18 February 2021, sets out the EU trade strategy for the coming years.

Reflecting the concept of open strategic autonomy, it builds on the EU's openness to contribute to the economic recovery through support for the green and digital transformations, as well as a renewed focus on strengthening multilateralism and reforming global trade rules to ensure that they are fair and sustainable.

The EU's trade policy focuses on three core objectives:

  • Supporting the recovery and fundamental transformation of the EU economy in line with its green and digital objectives;
  • Shaping global rules for a more sustainable and fairer globalisation;
  • Increasing the EU's capacity to pursue its interests and enforce its rights, including autonomously where needed.

More information on the EU trade strategy.

Bilateral trade and Investment

Brazil and the EU are significant trading partners.

  • The EU is Brazil's second-biggest trading partner, accounting for 15% of its total trade, and Brazil is the EU’s twelfth -biggest trading partner, accounting for 1.5% of total EU trade (2020).
  • EU imports from Brazil are dominated by primary products, in particular vegetable products (23.5% of EU imports from Brazil), followed by mineral products (23.1%) and foodstuff, beverages and tobacco products (18.5%) (2020).
  • Brazil is the second largest exporter of agricultural products to the EU (2020).
  • EU's exports to Brazil consist mainly of machinery and appliances (28.8%), products of the chemical and allied industries (26.8%), and transport equipment (10.2%) (2020).
  • The EU is the biggest foreign investor in Brazil with investments in many sectors of the Brazilian economy. In 2019, the EU direct investment stock in Brazil reached € 319 billion.

More information about the EU-Brazil investment relationship.

Brazil’s import restrictions

Brazil is one of the countries that have resorted to a high number of potentially trade-restrictive measures according to the European Commission's latest report.

The EU encourages Brazil to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers, and to promote a stable and more open regulatory environment for European investors and traders.

Brazil and Mercosur

The European Union and Mercosur reached on June 28th of 2019 a political agreement for an ambitious, balanced and comprehensive trade agreement.

The agreement represents a win-win for both the EU and Mercosur, creating opportunities for growth and jobs for both sides.

More information on the EU-Mercosur trade deal

Trading with Brazil

Rules and requirements for trading with Brazil


Founded in 1999 by the European Chambers of Commerce in São Paulo, Eurocamaras is the most representative organization for this business community, and represents today all together more than 5.000 European industries and companies in Brazil. Eurocamaras is the Brazilian recognized Partner of Eurochambres, which represents national chambers in 46 countries and gathers 2.000 local and regional chambers.

Eurocâmaras Yearbook

The EU Delegation’s Trade Section

The Trade Section monitors Brazil’s trade policies. It also represents the EU locally in trade-related matters. The team works closely with Member States, the Brazilian government, as well as representatives from industry and civil society. The aim is to explain EU trade policy and report on any new developments.

The allocation of funding for cooperation and development is mainly provided by means of grants to projects and programmes under several EU instruments including the:

The principal areas of cooperation therefore include: human rights, reducing poverty, environmental protection, climate change and energy, social and economic development, education, health, food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture — as well as migration and asylum.

In addition, two other EU initiatives which address global challenges are open to Brazil:

To access these resources, organisations must present proposals in the context of Calls for Proposals published by EuropeAid, the EU’s Executive Agency for Education and Culture or the European Delegation in Brazil.

Bilateral Cooperation

Between 2007 and 2013, the EU and Brazil worked together in Sector Dialogues and promoted academic cooperation between European and Brazilian higher education institutions.

From 2014 onwards, EU funding was no longer allocated to bilateral development cooperation. However, activities under the sector dialogues and through academic cooperation continue via support from other instruments.

Regional Cooperation

For 2014 to 2020, the EU has made €805 million available for regional cooperation with Latin America:

Brazil has a rich civil society sector that plays a relevant role in the consolidation of participative democracy and social control of public policies, building new alternatives for the promotion of sustainable development, poverty reduction and good governance. The EU therefore focuses on supporting actions to strengthen these organisations, ensuring their meaningful and structured participation in domestic and international policies and increasing their capacity as key actors of development processes.

The new thematic 'Brazil Civil Society Support Programme' aims at reinforcing capacities of civil society's organisations (CSOs) and their contribution to sustainable development.

Furthermore, the EU's involvement with CSOs, through grants allocated under the 'European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights' and other thematic programmes, has had positive impacts as they have contributed to raising awareness about specific matters like human rights, gender, indigenous people and consciousness on various social topics such as children living with hearing impairments, and promoting the equal rights of the LGBTI community in the country.

In September 2012, the European Commission adopted the Communication 'The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe's engagement with civil society in external relations'. The new policy orientations propose an enhanced and more strategic engagement with CSOs in partner countries, with a particular focus on local CSOs. It also calls for a more strategic approach at country level for the EU and its countries through the development of EU Roadmaps for engagement with civil society in each specific country.

The 'EU country roadmap for engagement with civil society' covers the period 2014-2017 and has been compiled through an extensive consultation process led by the EU Delegation, in collaboration with the EU countries and CSOs. The purpose of the Roadmap is to establish a common strategic framework for the EU Delegation and the EU countries with a view to improving the impact, predictability and visibility of EU action.

During the period covered by the EU Roadmap, the EU Delegation will continue its support to increase the capacity of CSOs in their vital role as development actors by promoting an enabling environment for CSOs and their constructive participation in public policies.

The EU's research and innovation (R&I) policy is the third in budgetary terms and makes a concrete contribution to its foreign policies. The EU promotes international cooperation through its R&I Framework Programme, Horizon 2020 (2014-2020), with a budget of ca €80 billion. Horizon 2020 is structured on three pillars: scientific excellence, industrial leadership and societal challenges and also in multi-annual work programmes (WP). The last calls of the Work Programme 2018-2020 of the R&I Framework Programme of the EU, Horizonte 2020, aim at addressing main concerns by citizens and focussing on impacts. They also include actions, which ensure a smooth transition towards the agendas and structures in the next R&I framework programme Horizon Europe (2021-2027). These Calls provide a final opportunity to develop possible underexploited potentials of Horizon 2020. Measures have been taken in all work programme parts to facilitate international cooperation, including flagship initiatives of large scale and scope on topics dedicated to international cooperation.

In addition to R&I calls for consortia on specific topics, there is the researcher's mobility programme through the Marie-Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) and also on the European Research Council (ERC). The programme has 28 EU Member States and 16 Associated Countries and one of its priorities is “Openness to the World”. This broad and multilateral approach is important for addressing EU commitments to international objectives such as the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, COP21 and others aiming at pooling resources for better results with greater impact. 300 Brazilian researchers have been supported through a Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant; as well as cutting-edge research: 9 top researchers of Brazilian nationality obtained a European Research Council grant and 34 Brazilian researchers participate in ERC-funded research teams in Europe.

Under Horizon 2020, Brazil ranks first among the LAC countries, with a total of 162 participations in 104 grants. There are 82 collaborative projects/consortia with Brazilian participation, out of which 46 grants received EU contribution of €9.7 million in total.The areas of common interest under science and technology cooperation are marine research, health, transport (including aviation), space, nanotechnology and nanosafety, sustainable urbanization, biofuels and Mission Innovation challenge no.4, research infrastructure, information and communication technologies, social sciences and humanities, bioeconomy and environment.

Scientific cooperation is one of the pillars of the strategic partnership between the two regions and is covered by the governmental BR-EU Cooperation Agreement on Scientific and Technology in force since 2007. The purpose of the agreement is to encourage, develop and facilitate cooperative activities in areas of common interest. The last meeting of the Joint Steering Committee, responsible for evaluating the implementation of the agreement, took place in April 2019, in Brasilia. In addition, there is another Cooperation Agreement between Euratom and Brazil in the field of fusion energy research in force since 2013. The last meeting of the Joint Steering Committee was held in Culham (UK) in September 2015. More about the cooperation agreements and additional information can be found here.

The EU Delegation's STI Sector has strategic partnerships with Brazilian federal and state entities, including the Ministry of International Relations (MRE) and the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC), as well as with funding agencies as the National Council for S&T Development (CNPq), the Funding Authority for Studies and Projects (FINEP) and the National Council of Research Supporting Foundations (CONFAP) and its States' Research Supporting Foundations (FAPs). Among the FAPs, some have published specific Guidelines as mechanisms of co-financing Brazilian participation in Horizon 2020 projects.

Ongoing projects funded by Horizon 2020 also promote collaboration in STI between Brazil and the EU, in particular ENRICH (“European Network of R&I Centres and Hubs”). In addition, the European Commission initiative EURAXESS-LAC promotes mobility opportunities and also offers other support services for European researchers interested in coming to Brazil and Brazilians interested in going to Europe. Furthermore, Brazilian National Contact Points (NCPs) of the Horizon 2020 programme can also support the engagement and potential partners.

The internet and digital technologies are transforming our world. Responding to this challenge the European Commission established as its most important sectoral priority the Digital Single Market (DSM). This transformation could contribute €415 billion per year to EU economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

The relevance of the challenge has resulted in an unprecedented investment in new digital technologies, applications for smart services in health, mobility, government, education, environment and energy, innovative approaches to manufacturing and digital content broadcast. A particular attention is also being devoted to the societal impacts of this digital transformation process in aspects such as personal data protection, regulation of electronic communications and media, protection of minors and vulnerable people in the cyberspace and cyber-security.

The key components of EU strategy can be summarised as follows:

  • Shaping the Digital Single Market and open up digital opportunities for people and businesses making Europe a world leader in the digital economy
  • Design a regulatory approach that favours a widespread offer of broadband and mobile communication services to every citizen, promotes a healthy competitive environment and stimulates innovation
  • Investing in new technologies for communications networks and computing such as 5G, Internet of Things and cloud computing that make available almost unbounded possibilities for being connected and have access to information
  • Engaging businesses, SMEs from all sectors including non-technological areas in digitising the European industry to maximise the benefits of going digital and a better integration in global value chains
  • Using the potential of data intelligence to build a dynamic European data economy that explores fully the demand for innovative smart services
  • Provide European scientists and researchers with a world class digital infrastructure of high speed network and supercomputing, making these facilities also available for industry and public administrations

EU and Brazil cooperation

The EU and Brazil are jointly engaged in addressing issues relating to information and communication technologies (ICTs) to the Digital Economy. DG CONNECT organises since 2010 annual ICT Dialogues between EU and Brazil, taking place alternatively in Brussels and in Brazil. In 2017 the year of 10th anniversary of the EU-Brazil Strategic Partnership we had the 10th edition of the EU-Brazil Dialogue on Information Society. In 2018 it was postponed given the electoral period in Brazil. The next edition is now planned to happen in Brussels in October 2019.

Over the last 10 years we have made significant progress and substantive achievements in this prominent area of cooperation. More than 20 research and innovation projects involving an estimated number of 200 partners from EU and Brazil were funded representing an investment of 25 MEUR by the EU complemented by an equivalent amount by Brazil. These projects address a number of areas of great relevance in digital technologies and their application to address societal problems in health, mobility, energy efficiency, and urbanisation. Only in 2017 the EU-Brazil joint call on ICT mobilised with 8M€ of EU-funding and an equivalent amount from the Brazilian side, in Cloud Computing, IoT pilots and 5G, clearly aligned with the EU priorities as well as the Brazilian Strategy for Digital Transformation and the National Plan for Internet of Things. These EU-Brazil research and innovation activities are part of the ICT thematic priority of Horizon 2020.

The 10th anniversary of the EU-Brazil Dialogue also marked an upgrade in our cooperation on digital matters. The “digital” became so pervasive that it impacts almost every aspect of our daily life that EU and Brazil are engaged in a more systematic dialogue about mutual policies and initiatives dealing with the digital transformation. Among the areas of interest are:

  • regulation of electronic communications (e.g. fixed, mobile, broadband Internet, net neutrality)
  • digital platforms
  • audio-visual and media services
  • copyright
  • data economy, including free flow of non-personal data and personal data protection
  • digitisation of industry and advanced manufacturing
  • the EU initiative on High Performance Computing
  • cyber-security
  • digital technologies – e.g. 5G, IoT, big data, cloud computing,
  • applications of digital technologies in areas of societal relevance smart cities and urbanisation, health, mobility, energy, environment

A programme of regular contacts is being established bringing together not only representatives from the Brazilian government, the European Commission and Member States but also from sectoral stakeholders – research institutes, regulatory entities, experts from academia, companies - to promote exchanges of views, share experiences, identify issues, establish priorities, propose follow-up actions. A new High-Speed Submarine Cable will link Europe and Latin America in 2021: BELLA project (Building the Europe Link with Latin America) is a strategic action that aims to provide long-term interconnectivity for European and Latin American research and education communities strengthening connectivity between Latin America and Europe ensuring high capacity, cost effective capacity, shorter routes to stimulate data-sharing across the Atlantic. This is a fundamental infrastructure for the development of the digital economy for both sides.

The Partnership Instrument (PI) is the main innovative instrument in the European Union's external action package. The PI promotes EU's fundamental values and strategic interests. It supports measures that respond effectively to the objectives arising from bilateral, regional or multilateral relations between the EU and particular third countries and approaches challenges of global interest, ensuring an appropriate monitoring of the decisions taken in multilateral level.

PI finances activities according to the EU's agenda with partner countries, translating political compromises into concrete measures. This financing toll supports the EU's external dimension of internal policies – in areas such as competition, research and innovation, migration – and it helps facing the key global challenges, such as energy security, climate change and environment protection.

PI also addresses specific aspects of EU's economic diplomacy, with the aim of improving access to third country markets, increasing trade, investment and business opportunities for European companies. It supports public diplomacy, academic cooperation and outreach activities to promote the values and interests of the Union.

In this way, the PI allows the EU to develop a comprehensive political dialogue with partner countries, in particular the emerging market economies and the ones which are not eligible for bilateral aid for development. Its global reach and flexibility are essential elements to enable EU's response to key global challenges.

The measures to be financed under the Partnership Instrument reflect the following specific Union objectives:

  1. supporting the Union's bilateral, regional and inter-regional cooperation partnership strategies by promoting policy dialogue and by developing collective approaches and responses to challenges of global concern. The attainment of that objective shall be measured, inter alia, by the progress made by key partner countries in the fight against climate change or in promoting the environmental standards of the Union;
  2. implementing the international dimension of ‘Europe 2020’. The attainment of that objective shall be measured by the uptake of the ‘Europe 2020’ policies and objectives by key partner countries;
  3. improving access to partner country markets and boosting trade, investment and business opportunities for companies from the Union, while eliminating barriers to market access and investment, by means of economic partnerships, business and regulatory cooperation. The attainment of that objective shall be measured by the Union's share in foreign trade with key partner countries and by trade and investment flows to partner countries specifically targeted by actions, programmes and measures under this Regulation;
  4. enhancing widespread understanding and visibility of the Union and of its role on the world scene by means of public diplomacy, people-to-people contacts, cooperation in educational and academic matters, think tank cooperation and outreach activities to promote the Union's values and interests. The attainment of that objective may be measured, inter alia, by opinion surveys or evaluations.


The 2014-2020 PI budget amounts to € 954.8 million euros to fund activities in any non-EU country, with emphasis on partner countries of strategic interest to the EU.

PI in Brazil

In Brazil, the main topics developed by PI are: Public Diplomacy; Climate & Energy & Urbanization; Sustainable Environment/Water Diplomacy; Corporate Responsibility, Digital Single Market; Migration and Mobility; Transportation/Civil Aviation and FTAS/Market Access.

General background on IcSP

As the Partnership instrument, the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) is also an instrument of political nature, enabling the EU to respond to crises in an effective and timely manner to help preserve, establish or re-establish the conditions essential to the proper implementation of EU external policies (art.3 IcSP Regulation). It is often – apart from humanitarian aid – the EU’s instrument of first response. By its very nature, Art.3 interventions respond to crisis or emerging crisis, be it country related or of a regional scope. As such, they are non-programmable and can respond to a strictly short-term logic, although they must be coordinated in both the design and execution phases with actions funded by the EU’s other financing instruments (both short term – ECHO – or long term – DEVCO/NEAR).

Through IcSP interventions under art.4, the EU aims at preventing conflicts and ensuring capacity and preparedness to address pre- and post-crisis situations and build peace. These actions are foreseen in selected countries/regions to support peacebuilding and conflict prevention actions implemented by civil society organisations. They are programmable, with an average duration of three years, and respond to the following five priorities: early warning and conflict sensitive risk analysis; confidence building, dialogue, mediation and reconciliation; capacity building for stabilisation missions; post conflict and post disaster recovery; and curbing the use of natural resources to finance conflicts. At the moment, Art.4 interventions in Latin America are limited to Venezuela, Central America and Haiti.

Its global reach is one of the main characteristics of the IcSP. Interventions can take place anywhere in the world outside the EU and do not require any formal approval by the host country, but the positive assessment and involvement of the local EU Delegation is absolutely essential. Most actions are in Africa and the Middle East (around 70% of ongoing projects), but we also have significant interventions in Latin America managed by the RT in Brasilia.

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