Spain and Brazil have joined forces to make progress on the currently stalled EU-Mercosur trade agreement, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro S?nchez and his Brazilian counterpart, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, announced in Madrid on Wednesday.
S?nchez (PSOE/S&D) held a joint press conference with left-wing Brazilian leader Lula.
It is “an extraordinary opportunity” to make progress, Sanchez said, referring to Spain’s’ six-month EU Council presidency set to start in July, which coincides with Brazil’s rotating presidency of Mercosur.
“If there are arguments and there is an opportunity, it is clearly now (…) circumstances and the situation are right for us to finish this process, and we are going to work so that we can reach an agreement this year”, Spain’s prime minister added.
Both countries have resumed their close “strategic bond” after years of “impasse” during the mandate of Brazil’s former – and controversial – president Jair Bolsonaro – a step forward in the right direction towards the signature of the ambitious trade pact this year, both leaders stressed.
In a meeting at the seat of the Spanish executive at the Moncloa Palace, the two leaders signed several agreements in diverse areas, such as education and labour relations, in addition to a joint declaration.
“Brazil is back”, Lula, also the leader of Brazil’s Workers Party (PT), repeatedly proclaimed, referring to his desire to participate in the great debates of international politics after the isolation brought about by his right-wing predecessor, former president Jair Bolsonaro.
The new left-wing government in Brazil is committed to rebuilding everything that was lost during the previous executive in many areas, including the fight against poverty, one of Lula’s top priorities, the Latin-American leader pointed out.
A milestone of the Spanish EU Council presidency will be the summit of European and Latin American and Caribbean leaders, to be held in Brussels on 17 and 18 July.
In 2019, the EU and Mercosur reached a general political agreement to seal a free trade pact, although some technical aspects were left pending, and later the negotiation was complicated by fresh EU concerns over environmental issues in the Amazon as a result of Bolsonaro’s controversial views on climate change in the gigantic forest region.
(Jos? Miguel Blanco and Patricia Crespo EFE)
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