Tuesday

23rd May 2017

Get used to Brazil as growing power, ambassador tells EU

  • Brazil is a member of the four BRIC economies (Photo: guipimenta)

Brazil's top diplomat to the EU has said his country was disappointed by Europe's reaction to the recently brokered nuclear agreement with Iran, indicating that the West must get used to his country's expanding heft on the international stage.

Speaking to EUobserver in the elegant surroundings of the Brazilian mission on the edge of Brussels' Bois de La Cambre, ambassador Ricardo Neiva Tavares also suggested there may be lessons for Europe in Brazil's greater ability to withstand the global economic downturn.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The two issues are clearly linked, with the rise of Latin America's largest economy the key driver behind its growing confidence.

"What this shows, broadly speaking, is that there are new kids on the block," said Mr Neiva Tavares on Brazil's role in brokering the Iranian deal. "The EU and the US could show a more positive attitude," he added.

Part of Brasília's frustration stems from the West's apparent support prior to the deal, one that was very similar to a failed initiative last October that commanded International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) support.

US President Barack Obama sent a letter of goodwill to the Brazilian administration, two weeks before the eventual agreement, said Mr Neiva Tavares.

Under the Brazil-Turkey deal, submitted last week to the IAEA, Iran has agreed to ship 1,200 kilogrammes of uranium to Turkey, where it will be stored. In exchange, Iran would get fuel rods made from 20 percent enriched uranium, suitable for research reactors but not sufficiently enriched for nuclear weapons.

Opponents of the deal say it fails to tackle the question of higher-level enrichment, while Brazil has stressed the agreement was never meant to be a final accord. "It's a confidence building initiative," said Mr Neiva Tavares, adding that Brazil is highly sceptical of the effectiveness of further sanctions against Tehran.

"We've seen the film in the past in other countries in the Middle East. They didn't solve the problem."

Eurozone crisis

The increasingly confident tone is not just limited to the field of foreign policy. With a population of almost 200 million people and a landmass approximately twice the size of the EU27, Brazil is forecast to jump from the world's eighth largest economy to fifth largest by 2025.

The former Portuguese colony has weathered the global downturn better than most, and at a EU-Latin America summit in Madrid last month, the country's president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva voiced his opposition to the speed of Europe's planned deficit cuts.

The popular Brazilian leader who will step down this October after two terms stressed that European austerity measures risked putting a dangerous brake on the region's growth prospects, according to EU sources.

He is not alone in this belief. Last Friday, the rating agency Fitch downgraded Spanish debt due to a lack of plausible growth initiatives, despite Madrid's austerity plan to halve the budget deficit over 12 months.

For Brazil, the key lies in achieving the right balance between export- and domestic-led growth, said Mr Neiva Tavares, a subject that has recently come to the fore in Europe after France told Germany to boost its domestic consumption.

"We don't want to give lessons, but we believe that people should observe our system," he continued, referring to Brazilian government programmes that are designed to boost consumption amongst the poor.

"The more balanced EU member states are, the better it will be for the group as a whole."

EU-Mercosur trade talks

Despite the emphasis on domestic demand, the subject of international trade is clearly a key issue for the ambassador. Since 2008, he has been working quietly in the background to restart talks on a bilateral deal between the EU and South American trade bloc Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay).

That work appears to have borne fruit, with the European Commission last month announcing its intention to restart the talks, which broke down in 2004.

Estimates suggest the potential free-trade deal could be the largest of its kind in the world, and roughly four times the combined size of the recently initialled agreements between the EU and Peru, Colombia and Central America.

A number of EU countries led by France have already indicated their opposition to any agreement however, concerned that it will usher in a flood of cheaper agricultural products into the region.

Despite the resistance, Brazil is still confident a deal can be struck. "The commission has a key role to play in the negotiations," said Mr Neiva Tavares, an apparent reference to the need to secure qualified majority support among EU member states.

"At the end of the day, it depends whether the agricultural lobby gets the upper hand over the rest of Europe."

Emerging nations crafting plan to come to Europe's aid

In a stunning reversal of fortune, it has emerged that the so-called Brics nations, the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - who almost alone in the global economy have weathered the financial crisis sitting atop huge international reserves - are planning to come to Europe's aid.

Investigation

Fight club: Russian spies seek EU recruits

Russian intelligence services are using martial arts clubs to recruit potential troublemakers in Germany and other EU countries, security experts have warned.

Letter

An open letter to ministers on the audiovisual directive

The ongoing revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive is a key opportunity to reduce exposure of Europe's children to advertisements of health-harmful products – an opportunity that should not be missed.

EU gives mandate for Barnier to take on Brexit

In its final preparatory act before Brexit talks begin, the EU has officially given the negotiating mandate to Michel Barnier. The French politician said he would like to start negotiations on the week of 19 June.

EU wary over Ukrainian weapons in South Sudan

Ukraine, which had signed an EU arms embargo on South Sudan, has since sold attack helicopters used by the government forces in Juba against civilians and hospitals.

Agenda

Trump descends into 'hellhole' This WEEK

Trump, Erdogan, and Macron will all meet in Brussels this week among other Nato leaders, as the US president makes his debut in the European Union.

Portugal held up as symbol of EU recovery

Portugal to sail out of troubled waters after eight years of financial crisis, EU commission predicted, amid broad but "fragile" recovery in European economy.

EU wary over Ukrainian weapons in South Sudan

Ukraine, which had signed an EU arms embargo on South Sudan, has since sold attack helicopters used by the government forces in Juba against civilians and hospitals.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  2. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  4. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  5. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  7. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  8. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  9. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  10. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  11. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Cost of Speaking Out: Human Rights Violations Committed in Belarus

Latest News

  1. Fight club: Russian spies seek EU recruits
  2. An open letter to ministers on the audiovisual directive
  3. EU gives mandate for Barnier to take on Brexit
  4. EU wary over Ukrainian weapons in South Sudan
  5. Trump descends into 'hellhole' This WEEK
  6. Portugal held up as symbol of EU recovery
  7. Hungarians march against Orban crackdown
  8. Malta surprised by sudden interest in its tax regime

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCABanishing Bias? Audit, Objectivity and the Value of Professional Scepticism
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Oslo Climate Declaration Focuses on Rising Temperatures in the Arctic
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceAbdominal Obesity: A Causal Risk Factor for Cardiometabolic Diseases
  4. EU Green Week 2017Discuss EU Environmental Policies With Industry Experts and Thought Leaders
  5. GEN Summit 2017Join the World's Leading Media Summit for Thought-Provoking Talks and Experiences
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsTogether for Human Rights: A Year in Review
  7. Malta EU 2017EU All Set for Free Roaming Starting 15 June
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersRefugee Unemployment Biggest Drain on Public Purse, Says New Nordic Studies
  9. Dialogue Platform17,000 Women, 515 Babies in Turkish Prisons, a Report Reveals
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  11. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  12. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change