Brazil extends invitations to Uruguay and Paraguay for G20 chairmanship
As South American nation Brazil prepares to take on the role of chairing the G20 in 2024, the country’s Chancellor, Mauro Vieira, has invited the governments of Uruguay and Paraguay to collaborate and support Brazil during its tenure.
The invitation to Uruguay was extended on March 7 during the visit of Francisco Bustillo, Uruguay’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Azucena Arbeleche, the Minister of Economy and Finance, to Brasília. Vieira’s meeting with Paraguay’s Chancellor, Julio César Arriola, on March 9, 2023 resulted in an invitation being extended to Paraguay as well. The Chancellor also had a meeting with Paraguay’s President, Mario Abdo Benítez, to discuss Brazil’s plans for the G20.
Brazil, as the chair of the G20, will have the prerogative to invite other allied countries to join its work, and it seems that Uruguay and Paraguay are eager to collaborate. Brazil’s invitation provides an opportunity for the entire Mercosur bloc (or the Southern Common Market) to participate in G20.
Global South & G20
The G20 summits are happening in the countries of the Global South. It began with Indonesia in 2022, India in 2023, Brazil in 2024, and South Africa in 2025. These are all post-colonial states which share a complex psychological relationship with the West: they have a sense of admiration and envy for the West but also believe that the West is on a path of terminal decline. “These countries support the international rule of law but are critical of Western dominance in international institutions. They want a more equitable global governance structure,” opines Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU.
The G20 is bound to have a far better understanding of the concerns of the Global South. The G7 cannot treat this as an extension of its arm or an instrument to advance its interests. “In the G20, most states identify themselves as developing countries. For the West, the expansion of NATO is essential, but food supply issues, energy and climate change are far more critical for the Global South,” he says.
Mercosur’s current members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Venezuela, which became a full member in 2012, is presently suspended from the South American trade bloc due to its internal political turmoil. Brazil and Argentina are already full members of the G20. This implies that if Uruguay and Paraguay accept the invitations, the entire Mercosur bloc will be a part of G20’s activities. This also presents an opportunity for Brazil to demonstrate its leadership within the region and on the world stage.
The main goal of Mercosur is to promote free trade and economic integration among its member countries. It has implemented a common external tariff on goods imported from outside the bloc and has also established common trade policies and regulations to facilitate trade among its members.
According to experts, Brazil’s move has the potential to strengthen regional cooperation and integration, particularly as the Mercosur bloc has faced a number of challenges, such as political instability, economic slowdown, and natural disasters in recent years.
View of an expert
“President Lula da Silva’s administration is trying hard to reverse the previous administration’s policies. It has clearly stated that environmental protection and social justice would be high on his agenda. The Bolsanaro administration had dramatically weakened the rules which protected the Amazon forest and biodiversity. Bolsanaro was also critical of the climate change negotiations,” Prof Rajan opines.
According to him the current administration has sought to prioritize environmental protection, social welfare and social justice in its domestic and foreign policy. It is trying hard to project these issues as regional and global rather than mere Brazilian concerns. “It is working to collaborate with other regional forums such as UNASUR [Union of South American Nations], MERCOSUR and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization. Brazil’s inclination to invite MERCOSUR states to the G20 should be seen in that context.”
In a recent CNN interview, Fiona Hill, a scholar on Russia who also worked with the Trump administration, unequivocally stated that the BRICS countries could play a decisive role in initiating negotiations on the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The question is: Is the West willing to allow that to happen? Can the Modi or Lula administration succeed in initiating talks on Ukraine?