The Mercosur-EU trade agreement is one of several issues Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff will be addressing Monday in Brussels during the fifth Brazil-EU summit. Rousseff begins in Belgium an official visit to Europe that also includes Turkey and Bulgaria.
EU-Mercosur discussions were re-launched in 2010 after several years of stagnation and have since progressed considerably, but have reached another economic and political sensitive hurdle: several European governments fear an advance of more competitive Mercosur farm produce will have an impact on European farming and employment while Europeans are demanding a greater industrial window from the South American block.
On the political both Argentina and France have lobbied for no major decisions until after presidential elections. Argentina goes to the polls this month and President Cristina Fernandez is expected to win comfortably but in France for President Nicholas Sarkozy the road to the April scenario is not that promising.
Nevertheless both sides have agreed that they expect to sign a trade agreement sometime next year, although the ongoing Euro debt crisis could leave little time for consensus building regarding a major agreement which could become the world’s largest trade space.
Besides the official state visit to Belgium President Rousseff will be addressing the world crises with EU leaders and EC president Jose Barroso, based on the Brazilian proposal for an increase in investments between Brazil and the EU, said Rodrigo Bena, the president’s spokesperson.
Baena recalled that Brazil is the fourth destination of EU investments behind the US, Switzerland and Canada.
Rousseff is expected to defend a stronger strategic association between Brazil and the European block (launched in 2007) and will also express concern about the European situation and demand that discussions on global sustained growth should not exclude developing countries because the current crises were not the making of emerging nations but from the rich such as the US and the EU.
During her recent speech before the UN General Assembly President Rousseff called for ‘courage’ from the political leaders of the EU to face the crisis and insisted in the role for developing countries.
She also anticipated that Brazil would not be a contributor to the European Financial Stability fund as it had originally been suggested as part of an overall effort from BRICS, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
President Rousseff also warned that a looming protectionist wave threatens the world because of the EU and US crises and justified Brazil’s defensive measures which she described as ‘walls’.
From Belgium the Brazilian president flies to Bulgaria for bilateral talks and for a highly emotional visit to her father’s home town of Gabrovo, Later she flies to Turkey the new emerging power in the Muslim and Arab world and with which Brazil has in recent years jointly supported several international initiatives.