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Brazil’s EU Opportunity During The G-20 Presidency

President Lula da Silva unscripted comments a few days prior to the summit that inadvertently eclipsed ceremonies

By: EBR - Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Specifically, Brazil, a successful developing world democracy, can claim diplomatic and business interoperability with both Germany as well as Ethiopia, where President de Silva’s comments were made.
Specifically, Brazil, a successful developing world democracy, can claim diplomatic and business interoperability with both Germany as well as Ethiopia, where President de Silva’s comments were made.

by Radu Magdin*

While Brazil’s assumption of the G-20 presidency should have grabbed headlines in late February, it was President Lula da Silva unscripted comments a few days prior to the summit that inadvertently eclipsed ceremonies. With that, a new wave of comments that painted Brazil as mesmerised by either left-wingers who haven’t noticed the 1970s ended or would-be Pinochets who haven’t noticed the 1990s ended.

It is a pity, for Brazil’s presidency holds brilliant opportunities for most of the world – and the European Union in particular.

First, it is a country whose political and business elite live close enough to under-development and poverty to actually understand the context in which much of the Global South makes its choices and correctly evaluate the importance of such factors as successful urbanisation in alleviating poverty or industry as a source of the stable jobs which build the middle class and functional families alike.

Secondly, as the world’s 9th largest economy, estimated by PwC as rising to 5th place by 2050 and by Goldman Sachs to maintain itself at 8th place by 2075, Brazil can honestly claim it speaks for the world not as it is but as it is emerging.

Brazil’s GDP per capita of USD 8,917 is still lower than France’s in 1978 and it is in places such as Brazil where it is being decided if the world will actually converge with Western Europe in living standards, at least for most of its people.

As such, Brazil is the European Union’s near ideal partner in its relatively newfound role as a geopolitical entity with foreign policy goals. Brazilians not only make up about half of South America’s population but Brazil can claim to speak for most of the world.

Specifically, Brazil, a successful developing world democracy, can claim diplomatic and business interoperability with both Germany as well as Ethiopia, where President de Silva’s comments were made.

For example, in an Africa where Gulf interests are being advanced with staggering success, the European Union finds itself as a third party useful to hand over a prize or two but otherwise, unfortunately, ignored. Likewise with the expanding BRICS, where the European Union risks being reduced to a side actor absent cooperation with individual countries to advance its own diplomatic and business interests.

In other words, Brazilian diplomats and Brazilian business can be an essential partner for the European Union and an ideal conduit between the G-20 emerging geopolitical realities of perpetual triangulation and the NATO and E.U. centred G-20 ancien regime of global politics.

The European Union, after all, still has plenty to offer the developing world, from infrastructure initiatives to technology and, in no small part, a globally useful lack of practicality when it comes to advancing its own interests: it might seem out of touch with the on-the-ground realities for most of the developing world but removing its advocacy of democracy would also leave global discourse bereft of a certain idealism.

With that in mind, Brazil’s time at the helm should be the time Brazil reaches out to the European Union through both diplomatic channels as well as business channels to help bring together these two aspects of global engagement. Brazil, the European Union and the world would be better off if Brazil succeeded – and here is wishing it the absolute best of luck.

*CEO Smartlink Communications, EU Affairs and Global Operations

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