The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, has held a bilateral meeting at Moncloa Palace in Madrid with the President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, who arrived yesterday for an official visit to Spain.
This meeting, on the agenda of President Lula da Silva’s first visit to Europe in his third term in office, underlines the new stage that has opened up in strategic relationship between Spain and Brazil. The President of the Government was accompanied by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Vice-Presidents of the Government and by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs; Industry, Trade and Tourism; Science and Innovation; and Universities.
To this effect, the two countries have adopted a Joint Declaration which, as highlighted by President Sánchez, will serve as a roadmap for this Renewed Strategic Partnership. In this declaration, Spain and Brazil reaffirm their commitment to the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, human rights, gender equality and the defence of the rule of law. They also concur on the importance of preserving the stability of institutions and protecting them from assaults on democracy such as those that shook Brazil and the rest of the world last January. In this declaration, Spain and Brazil also welcome the forthcoming launch of the Permanent Bilateral Commission, which will coordinate and strengthen relations between the two countries in all the areas in which they have been collaborating intensively for decades.
Pedro Sánchez emphasised that the two countries share a vision of the world “that goes beyond the traditional differences between conservatives and progressives”. He also pointed out that the two countries share a common goal to defend the environment “vis-à-vis blind and suicidal negationism”, a clear commitment to science, and the value they place on civilisation in the face of barbarism. In short, the president stressed that Spain and Brazil are aligned in the defence of democracy and the rule of law “against the hordes that we see in Washington and Brasilia”.
Brazil is the fourth largest destination for direct investment abroad, and the Central Bank of Brazil ranks Spain as its second largest investor, only after the US, with a stock in 2021 that has reached $60 billion. “Spanish companies have been contributing to the generation of wealth and employment in key sectors of the Brazilian economy for decades,” said the president, recalling that this Tuesday the economic forum organised by the Chamber of Commerce was held in Madrid, as a continuation of the business meeting held in March in São Paulo. These meetings, Pedro Sánchez commented, are simply a reflection of the strength of the relations between Spain and Brazil in the economic sphere.
This meeting between the president and his Brazilian counterpart has been very useful in terms of cooperation in educational relations, science and innovation, and regarding the exploration of new areas of collaboration in areas of common interest, such as digitalization, labour reform, fiscal policies, water resource management, gender issues and the fight against drug trafficking. In the cultural sphere, Brazil and Spain likewise have a fruitful relationship; with eight centres in operation, Brazil is the country that hosts the largest network of Cervantes Institutes in the world.
One outcome of the bilateral meeting was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on higher education and another on cooperation in social and labour matters, which, President Sánchez stated, “reflects the maturity and diversity of our relations”. Likewise, in the area of Science and Innovation,the two countries have signed a letter of intent to promote joint projects of an innovative nature from the technological point of view.
EU-Latin America and the Caribbean: a link that Spain aspires to further strengthen
In addition to addressing the current state of bilateral relations, the President of the Government and the President of Brazil discussed the current state of relations between the EU and Latin America, a relationship that Spain aspires to continue to strengthen, as Pedro Sánchez pointed out.
On 17 and 18 July, within the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU and for the first time since 2015, the EU-CELAC Summit will be held in Brussels. In this regard, President Sánchez welcomed the fact that the Brazilian President will be present at this important meeting, stressing that “Brazil, as the largest country in Latin America, has a key role to play”.
Taking place in the second half of this year, the EU-CELAC Summit will coincide with Brazil’s presidency of Mercosur. This coincidence, Pedro Sanchez stressed, is an “excellent opportunity” to try to translate the rapprochement into concrete advances. In this context, the President reiterated that Spain remains firmly committed to moving towards ratification of the EU-MERCOSUR Association Agreement.
The two leaders addressed global issues that are currently at the centre of the debate, such as the war in Ukraine and the fight against the climate emergency, among others.
Pedro Sánchez thanked President Lula for his involvement in the matter of the invasion of Ukraine, and acknowledged the Brazilian president’s interest in promoting a group of mediating countries. “Spain and Brazil want the same thing: peace,” the president said, reiterating that the search for lasting peace must be based on respect for the principles of international law and the United Nations Charter. In this line, he stated that, as the aggressed country, it is Ukraine that must define the conditions for a ceasefire or the start of peace negotiations.
On environmental matters, President Sánchez said that “Brazil’s return to the climate agenda has been a real relief”, underlining that the Brazilian government’s commitment in this area is a source of hope for the international community. “We greatly value President Lula’s commitment to the preservation of the Amazon,” he said.
In this context, the President of the Government announced that Spain has invited Brazil to join the Alliance for Resilience against Drought, an initiative to share good practices and develop projects relating to desertification and water management.