The president stated that he still hopes that the negotiations will continue and asked the president of Paraguay to “never give up”
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) regretted this Thursday (Dec 7, 2023) that he could not announce the conclusion of the agreement between Mercosur and the European Union during Brazil’s term in command of the bloc. The PT member, however, defended that negotiations continue so as not to waste 23 years of negotiations.
“I had a dream that in my presidency and that of my companion Pedro Sánchez [presidente da Espanha e presidente temporário da União Europeia] so that we could conclude. I thought we deserved it. […] That we could conclude it in a majestic way that I thought we deserved. You know the effort we made. Anyway, it didn’t work”, these.
Lula made the statement in his speech at the opening of the 63rd Mercosur Heads of State Summit, held in Rio, at the Museum of Tomorrow. The presidents participate:
- Alberto Fernández, from Argentina;
- Luis Lacalle Pou, from Uruguay;
- Santiago Peña, from Paraguay;
- Luis Arce, from Bolivia.
Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mauro Vieira, is also present.
During his speech, Lula asked Peña not to give up on the agreement with the Europeans. “When you assume the presidency, never give up, man! Stubborn, fight and talk because that’s how it is“, he said. Paraguay assumes temporary command of Mercosur for 6 months.
Lula also claimed to have appealed to the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, to agree to the current terms of the agreement between the blocs, but was unsuccessful. He also said he had asked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for help, who also spoke to the Frenchman, but said he had not yet received a response from the German.
“I appealed to Macron to stop being so protectionist. Because it’s not just the case with Macron, all of them [presidentes franceses] They are protectionists when it comes to their agricultural products and do not take into account that we have the right to participate in this sun. But it did not work”, these.
Last weekend, Macron declared that he was against the free trade agreement between the 2 blocs. He argued that the negotiated text does not take biodiversity into account and said that South American countries do not apply the same environmental rules in production that are required in France. The speech harmed the progress of the negotiations, which ended up being suspended at this time.
“The European Union just needs to recognize the credibility of the data from our deforestation monitoring systems. I’m not going to keep an account of the things we do for anyone. We treat environmental issues very seriously. I have a public commitment that we will reach 2030 with zero deforestation”, these.
The Brazilian president repeated criticism of the version of a pre-agreement between the blocs, concluded in 2019, during the administration of former president Jair Bolsonaro. “We inherited a version of this agreement from the past government that was unacceptable, treated us as if we were inferior beings or even as if we were still a colonized country, with a lack of respect”, these.
Lula stated that the new conditions imposed by the Europeans in an additional letter sent at the beginning of 2023 were “unacceptable”, but highlighted that the terms were adjusted during the last negotiations, except on the industrial issue.
“I think some progress has been made. We already knew the position of Argentina and Macron, but I still said that I believed it would be possible to reach an agreement. I think the text we have now is more balanced than what was in the other government, but I still think it is insufficient”, he declared.
The president said he still does not understand the resistance of Europeans and that “Their lack of flexibility in understanding that we still have a lot to grow with the duty to industrialize is strange.”. For Lula, Europeans “they just need to buy something” from Mercosur with the highest added value. “But they are not yet sensitive to it”, these.