French President Emmanuel Macron Wednesday praised Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva's “political courage,” as the former head of state (2003-2011) appears ready to return to power in next year's elections, although he denies having launched his candidacy.
Lula is ahead in most polls over current president Jair Bolsonaro and also over former judge Sergio Moro. Lula is on tour in Europe and was warmly received by the French leader, who does not see eye to eye with the current Brazilian president.
After Lula met with Macron, there were no statements to the press, but Elysee sources said that the agenda had included inequalities and food insecurity, especially in Brazil, where the situation continues to be very worrying.
Both Lula and Macron also discussed the political situation in Nicaragua and Venezuela, as well as deforestation in the Amazon, it was reported.
The environmental issue has generated friction between Macron and Bolsonaro and is one of the reasons why France has suspended the ratification of the free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Mercosur, something that Lula favours.
Since Bolsonaro came to power, ties between Brasilia and Paris have cooled down and, so far, neither leader has made a state visit to the other country.
According to Brasil247, Lula has been awarded the Political Courage 2021 award from the magazine Politique Internationale, as a result of a government that, between 2003 and 2011, has rescued 30 million Brazilians from poverty.
The magazine specialized in foreign policy also highlighted Lula's resistance to political and judicial persecution, which was rewarded with the decision of the Supreme Federal Court to revoke his sentences, said Brasil247.
The Prize for Political Courage was created in 1981. Other honorees include Pope John Paul II and Nobel Peace Prize winners Anwar el Sadat, former President of Egypt, and Frederik De Klerk, former President of South Africa.
After the award, Lula gave a conference to French media and defended the recovery of international confidence in Brazil.
I am seeking to restore the credibility Brazil once had with the world. I travel to speak with European governments, politicians, the press, to show that Brazil is infinitely better than the current government, that the people are better, democratic, generous ... Lula said.
I met with many people to talk about democracy. Between 2003 and 2015, Brazil was an international actor, active in the World Trade Organization, in the World Health Organization, on environmental issues. Brazil participated actively in all multilateral forums because we believed in the existence of these forums”, explained Lula.
Today Brazil is out, it does not participate in anything. We are not invited at all, nobody wants to visit Brazil, continued Lula.
Bolsonaro is indeed an outcast among world leaders. He has not had any side conversations with any other world leader during the G20 Summit in Rome and even decided not to attend the COP26 meeting in Glasgow to avoid further rejection.
Lula insisted on Wednesday on the importance of strategic trade alliances with the European Union, the United States and China.
According to a survey commissioned by The Economist, Lula would have a 68% chance of winning the 2022 presidential elections, while Bolsonaro would only have a 20% chance.
Despite perceptions to the contrary, Lula said that he had not yet launched his candidacy for the presidency. I do not seek electoral support because the people I meet do not vote in Brazil (...) I am seeking to regain the credibility Brazil once had,” he said.
He also met with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and former President François Hollande. He previously met with Olaf Scholz, the future Chancellor of Germany. He also went through the European Parliament to participate in the high-level conference on Latin America.
Lula's European tour will end on November 18 in Madrid.