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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Press statement by President Durão Barroso after the EU-Brazil summit
Brussels, 4 October 2011
This has been the fifth EU‑Brazil summit but the first held with President Dilma Rousseff. It is a great pleasure to welcome her to Brussels and to develop further what is already an excellent relationship. But as we said during the meeting, I think it is time to consider moving from a strategic partnership to a strategic ‘complicity’.
The European Union and Brazil are natural strategic partners. We share common values and objectives that spring from a historical and cultural heritage that enables us to work together to address not only bilateral concerns but also global challenges, whether they be the financial crisis, climate change or sustainable development.
Significantly, most of our time at today’s summit meeting was taken up with discussion of some of these global challenges: the next G20, on which we have very similar positions, and forthcoming major meetings on climate and development, most notably the meeting in Durban later this year and next year’s big event, the Rio+20, where we want to try to advance the development agenda while also making progress on the environment and climate protection fronts.
We in Europe see Brazil as a powerful force, as a plus for Europe and the world. In a rapidly evolving international environment we see a proactive Brazil as something that can strengthen world efforts to solve global challenges. We believe in a fairer international order. We believe in a multilateral order. And today we saw this great convergence of views in the course of our discussions.
More specifically, we have adopted a new Joint Action Plan for the next three years. The new Plan will: (1) promote greater convergence between the European Union and Brazil on key issues on which we already have a structured dialogue, dialogue that we will extend to new areas; (2) strengthen our political dialogue by opening it up to new areas of mutual interest.
Apart from the quality of this political dialogue, an important aspect that needs stressing is relations between our citizens, something which is provided for in the ‘50,000 tourists’ pilot scheme, on which an agreement has just been signed. Another thing to highlight is the plethora of cultural contacts – today sees the start of that great event, europalia.brasil – not forgetting what we can do in terms of teaching, education and science.
We discussed President Dilma Rousseff's 'Science without Borders' initiative which is aimed at increasing existing opportunities for Brazilian students to come to Europe. I would like to say to Brazilian students that they are very welcome in Europe. We already have important joint programmes with Brazil. Among our partners outside Europe, Brazil is one of those which participates most actively in European investment programmes and in exchange programmes such as the Erasmus Mundus and the Marie Curie programmes. We now wish to work together with Brazil to ensure that more Brazilian students come to Europe.
I see this as a tangible sign that our relationship is not just a political, diplomatic, or economic relationship; it is also a relationship between people, and one that involves, mobilises and inspires our societies. One specific area of major importance is the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement. I believe that this agreement will produce enormous political and economic gains for our two regions. The EU is already Brazil's main trading partner and the main investor in Brazil. I would emphasise that Mercosur is the destination for more direct European investment than Russia, China and India put together. I say this because, even here in Europe, it is not always understood how important the economic relationship between the EU and Mercosur already is today. That is why I think that it is important to reach an ambitious and balanced agreement between the EU and Mercosur, an agreement which would, obviously, safeguard the specific interests and sensitive areas that exist on both sides. I was glad to learn that this is also the firm desire of the President and people of Brazil.
It was therefore an extremely positive summit, where we had the type of frank, open and unrestrained discussion on international issues you might expect between friends and partners.
I would also like to thank President Dilma Rousseff for the spirit in which she came to this summit, and to thank also the large and distinguished Brazilian delegation which attended the meeting. It is a pleasure to work with Brazil and I believe that there is immense potential in this area which we should explore for the benefit of our peoples.
I would like to end on a very personal note. I was very impressed with what President Dilma Rousseff said about the European Union's values and what they represent in the world. It is important to make it known that Brazil and the European Union can achieve great things in the world. I now know that there is, at the very highest level in Brazil, an understanding of the history of the European Union and a recognition of how important it may be for the rest of the world. For that I should like to thank the President.