Lula off on European tour this week
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is to embark on a European tour this week to meet French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis, and other EU leaders, it was reported.
”I am going to have lunch with Macron, I want to discuss the tightening of the Mercosur-European Union (EU) agreement approved by the French Parliament, said Lula in an interview with TV Brasil. The EU cannot try to threaten Mercosur with sanctions if it does not comply with this or that. If we are strategic partners, you don’t have to make threats… you have to help”, he added.
The Mercosur countries (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay) reached an agreement with the European Union in 2019 after more than 20 years of negotiations, but the pact was not ratified, partly due to concerns in Europe about the environmental policies of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022).
Following Lula’s return to power in January, new environmental demands, presented by the EU in an additional document to the agreement, tempered expectations. Lunch with Macron is scheduled for Friday, Lula’s last day in Europe.
While in Paris, Lula will also participate in a forum that seeks to reform global financing to better respond to the challenges of climate change. The Brazilian president will also deliver a speech on Thursday in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Lula will be in Rome, Italy, where he will meet with President Sergio Mattarella, Rome Mayor Roberto Gualtieri, and Pope Francis at the Vatican to ”discuss the question of peace (in Ukraine), and also the problem of inequality in the world.
The Brazilian Presidency had already anticipated Lula’s visit to Italy and the Vatican on May 31, when Lula spoke with the pontiff on the telephone and invited him over to Brazil.
This audience is part of the international trips made by the progressive leader to return to place Brazil in the world”, after four years of relative isolation under former President Jair Bolsonaro, explained the Planalto Palace.
Lula was in the Vatican in November 2008 to meet then-Pope Benedict XVI, who also visited Brazil in 2007. Lula then returned as a former president to meet with Francis on Feb. 13, 2020, when the audience lasted about an hour and focused on issues such as democracy, the environment, and inequalities, as well as the need for an economy that involves young people and the poor.
The Brazilian head of state has been under heavy criticism for his stance against an Organization of American States (OAS) resolution condemning human rights violations in Nicaragua.
Felix Maradiaga, a Nicaraguan political leader living in exile after being released from jail by the Daniel Ortega regime, described Lula as ill-advised on the preparatory process for an OAS Permanent Council meeting to be held from June 21 to 23, in Washington DC, during which a draft resolution condemning Ortega’s government is expected to be approved.
Recently, a Group of Independent Experts on Human Rights concluded that Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo are responsible for committing crimes against humanity against Nicaraguans, a report that was questioned by Brazil.
The central objective of that resolution is to extend for two more years the Group of Experts charged with conducting independent investigations into all human rights violations and abuses committed in Nicaragua since April 2018. It is, moreover, a resolution that refers to Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo as individuals involved in crimes against humanity. This resolution makes a series of recommendations that the OAS should listen to, said Maradiaga in a document.