High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell visited Brazil from 3 to 5 November and held a number of high level meetings there, including with the President of the Federal Brazilian Republic Jair Bolsonaro, Vice President Hamilton Mourão, Foreign Affairs Minister Carlos Alberto França, Environment Minister Eduardo Leite, as well as with Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco.
In his meetings, the High Representative reaffirmed the importance of the long-standing EU-Brazil Strategic Partnership: "Our relations with Brazil are strong and comprehensive. There is untapped potential to do more together, and we will explore concrete ways to widen our cooperation at the bilateral, regional and multilateral level,” he said. (see press remarks here)
With Foreign Minister França, the High Representative addressed economic and trade issues, including the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement, Brazil's ambition to join the OECD, climate and environmental challenges, post-corona recovery and foreign policy issues such as the situation in Venezuela, Afghanistan and Mozambique.
They also discussed EU - Brazil cooperation in the area of security and defence. In this context, Josep Borrell thanked Minister França for Brazil’s important contribution to the EU’s military training mission in Central African Republic (EUTM CAR).
The High Representative reiterated the EU’s commitment to finalise the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement and underlined its potential to strengthen the relationship between both regions in a comprehensive way, and expanding cooperation in areas of common interest such as greening value chains and the digital transformation. The High Representative welcomed and strongly encouraged Brazil to follow-up on its commitments regarding CO2 emissions, deforestation and forest protection.
High Representative Borrell and Minister França recalled the importance of the 10th edition of the EU-Brazil Human Rights Dialogue, to take place in Brazil later this month, and of the upcoming visit by the EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore, who will co-chair this Dialogue with Brazil.
In the exchanges with the Foreign Minister, the High Representative also pointed to the readiness to further address together the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and jointly promote a green recovery. Brazil's growing role as a provider of vaccines was also highlighted, stressing that the solution for the pandemic lies in the maximum amount of local production in Latin America.
The High Representative and Minister França signed a Memorandum of Understanding for international cooperation between the EU, Brazil and third countries, particularly in Africa and Latin America, which aims to contribute to the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development Goals.
Meetings with President Jair Bolsonaro, Environment Minister Leite and Senator Pacheco offered also an opportunity to reaffirm the relevance of EU-Brazil and EU-Latin America relations, and to stress the need for a closer cooperation to address global challenges, particularly on climate change, environment and post-COVID-19 recovery.
The programme also included a visit by the High Representative to EU cooperation initiatives, where he met with Venezuelan refugees in the context of the Brazilian Welcome Operation supported by the UNHCR, IOM and the EU. He also met with women human rights defenders in the context of an EU-funded project implemented by UN Women in Brazil.
During his stay in the country, Josep Borrell also engaged in intense exchanges with some of Brazil's most relevant think tanks, as well as representatives of the business community.