Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva told Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez during a telephone conversation last week that he was keen on finalizing the trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Mercosur.
If we two, who are friends, do not make a very big effort to make that agreement, I think that agreement will not come out, the Brazilian leader and pro-tempore president of the South American Common Market told his European colleague.
The trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union (EU) has been stalled since 2019 after discrepancies surfaced over environmental issues.
Pedro Sanchez, who is the president of the EU, is not there to discuss wars, but to discuss the trade agreement, and that is what we have to do while I preside over Mercosur and he is in the presidency of the European bloc, Lula insisted.
Brazil is to hand over the Mercosur scepter to Paraguay during the semi-annual summit on Dec. 6 and 7. Paraguayan President Santiago Peña has pledged not to spend his energy on the European agreement if Lula fails.
If Lula does not close, I will not continue with these negotiations in the next semester and the Paraguayan presidency of the bloc will be focused on discussing agreements with other regions of the world that can be reached very quickly, Peña explained in September.
Regarding the domestic scene, Lula said he did not want the armed forces involved in the fight against violence in Rio de Janeiro favelas because it's not their role.
Last Monday, the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro was the scene of a wave of violence, in which there was destruction and the burning of some thirty buses in retaliation for the death of Matheus da Silva Rezende, alias 'Teteu', considered the 'number two' of the militia that controls the city. At least twelve people were arrested for these events, described by the governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Cláudio Castro, as terrorist actions, promising that they will not rest until they arrest the main leaders of these factions which dispute the control of the territory with the drug traffickers.
I don't want the Armed Forces in the favela fighting with criminals, that's not their role, Lula told reporters late Friday after convening with Defense Minister José Múcio and the top brass.
The President also underlined he was on good terms with the Armed Forces and called for the military not to be judged for the madness of what happened on Jan.8, when rioters sought to lure troops into staging a coup d'état and stormed the headquarters of the three branches of government in Brasilia.
Lula also pointed out that it will be difficult for his government to meet the target of zeroing the primary deficit (the result of the government's accounts without interest on the public debt) in 2024. We will hardly reach the zero deficit target by 2024, he was quoted by Agencia Brasil as saying over breakfast with journalists at the Planalto Palace.
We will do everything we can to meet the fiscal target. What I can say is that it doesn't have to be zero, the country doesn't need that. I'm not going to set a fiscal target that forces me to start the year by cutting billions from the works that are a priority for this country. I think the market is often too greedy and keeps demanding a target that it knows won't be met, he added.
We know that next year is going to be a difficult year because of the fall in investment in China, the fall in growth in China, the rise in US interest rates, he said. We're not going to stand around waiting for bad news to happen, we're going to work to make things better, he added.
In Lula's view, Brazil is experiencing an exceptional moment in terms of the potential of green energy which can attract investment to create jobs and boost the economy.
Lula was also briefed by Agriculture and Livestock Minister Carlos Fávaro on Thursday, ahead of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) scheduled for late November in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Brazil has the potential to expand by 40 million hectares through agriculture, livestock, and forestry while prioritizing environmental conservation, setting a global example. This is one of the key initiatives that President Lula plans to present at COP28, Fávaro told the head of state according to Agencia Brasil.
The minister further noted that Lula expressed enthusiasm about the potential to attract international resources for the pasture conversion program. He personally committed to driving this effort to stimulate growth, Fávaro told the media.