Berlin – December 4, 2023
In a significant diplomatic move, “Brazilian President “Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva” is set to visit Berlin on Sunday, marking the initiation of the first round of government consultations between Brazil and Germany in the past eight years. The meeting comes as both Latin America and Europe’s largest economies aim to rekindle diplomatic ties.
President Lula, who resumed office in January, has been on a global diplomatic mission to restore Brazil’s international standing after a period of isolation during his far-right predecessor JairBolsonaro’s tenure, yielding mixed results.
The visit is anticipated to commence with a dinner between President Lula and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday, followed by official consultations on Monday. Notably, Chancellor Scholz was the first foreign leader to visit Lula in Brazil shortly after his inauguration.
Since assuming office in late 2021, Chancellor Scholz has actively sought to enhance relations with the Global South. Germany views Brazil as a crucial partner in diversifying its trade, aiming to reduce dependence on China and address skilled labor shortages.
Both nations are advocating for a swift trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union, South America’s principal trading bloc, currently presided over by Brazil. A spokesperson for the German economy ministry expressed support for the agreement, emphasizing the desire for a prompt conclusion.
While a trade treaty was tentatively agreed upon in 2019 after two decades of negotiations, additional environmental commitments requested by the EU prompted Brazil and Argentina to seek further concessions, extending the negotiation process.
Lukas Koehler, a senior lawmaker with the Free Democrats (FDP), the junior partner in Chancellor Scholz’s coalition, highlighted the potential benefits of free trade agreements for the export-oriented German economy. However, German exports to Brazil have seen modest growth compared to U.S. and Chinese counterparts over the past decade.
Chancellor Scholz aims to avoid a repeat of the situation in January, where his visit to Brazil was overshadowed by disagreements over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This time, the news conference on Monday could potentially underscore differences between the leaders regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict.
In a recent statement, President Lula characterized Israel’s actions as “committing terrorism” against Palestinians, emphasizing the impact on civilians. In contrast, Chancellor Scholz has consistently supported Israel’s “right to defend itself” while avoiding direct criticism.
The outcome of these talks holds significant implications for the diplomatic landscape between Brazil and Germany, as well as the broader geopolitical dynamics in both regions.