Brussels sees Brazil as a key player in the fight against global warming. With the tenth largest economy in the world, Brazil is home to most of the Amazon rainforest. It is a major producer of biofuels. President Lula da Silva is due at a conference in Brussels this Thursday where the main goal will be to foster consumption and production of fuel made from crops. EU leaders agreed in March to boost the role of biofuels, with a clear deadline.
Christian Bergsmuller is a member of the EU delegation in Brazil: “If the EU (has) that ambitious agenda of moving to about 20% of renewable energy by 2020 – which is very ambitious – we know that we have to import from other parts of the world, and Brazil will certainly have a stake in our energy mix in the future.”
In the future, if trade and investment end up predominantly bilateral, this risks complicating business dealings further afield. Brazil is the EU’s main trading partner in Latin America but broader interests cannot be ignored.
Analyst Mario Telo in Brussels says Europe is learning from previous experience with other major South American players: “The probable result will be to reinforce Europe-Latin America ties following on from the continent’s number one country. The risk is that an individual partnership with Brazil might create difficulties in relations with other Latin American partners. The one-on-one approach proposes a bilateral model such as exists with Chili and Mexico. The Portuguese EU presidency wants to avoid this danger.”
With 188 million people, Brazil is a land of huge contrasts – the better-off playing while the slum-dwellers stagnate. Newly-stable Brazil is looking towards Europe to reinforce its international prospects to help bring benefits to the poorest places.