Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday spoke on the phone with Spanish Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez about the need to finalize the trade agreement between the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) and the European Union (EU), according to the Brazilian Presidency.
The two spoke for 30 minutes in the lead-up to a new round of negotiations between the Mercosur bloc (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and the EU, scheduled for next week.
Both agreed that the time was right “for the agreement to be concluded,” seeing an “opportunity” in Brazil currently holding the presidency of Mercosur and Spain the presidency of the European Council, the Brazilian Presidency said in a statement.
Lula noted the negotiations have been ongoing for 22 years, and he once again criticized recent demands by the EU that environmental clauses be added to the trade deal.
He highlighted Brazil’s “progress” towards sustainable energy, saying that 80 percent of the South American giant’s energy matrix is “clean.”
He also stressed that Brazil has been facing serious impacts from climate change, including drought in the Amazon.
At the upcoming 28th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, which will begin at the end of this month in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Brazil plans to present a joint proposal with other countries that are home to large reserves of tropical rainforests, said the president.
Lula invited Sanchez to visit the South American country, and Sanchez expressed his interest in doing so later this year.
Sanchez agreed on the need to conclude the trade deal and offered to hold new high-level talks to finalize the agreement as soon as possible.