Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva said on Wednesday he will send the European Union a counter-proposal on the long-delayed trade deal with the South American bloc Mercosur in the coming two or three weeks.
Lula, who spoke after the two-day EU-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) summit in Brussels, said Brazil put together a response that was now being discussed by the Mercosur bloc, which also includes Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
“In two-three weeks’ time we will deliver the definitive proposal to the European Union,” Lula told reporters, adding he believed the EU would “very easily” agree with it.
The EU and the Mercosur bloc completed negotiations in 2019 but the deal has been on hold due to concerns about Amazon deforestation and Brazil’s commitment to climate change action. Lula, who was elected last year, has promised to overhaul his country’s climate policy.
The Commission has proposed attaching an annex to the agreement to show commitments on deforestation and other areas of sustainability and is awaiting Mercosur’s response.
In Brussels, Lula said that “for the first time” he was optimistic both parties would conclude the agreement later this year.
Although the EU-CELAC summit marked a new era of increased political and economic cooperation between European, Latin American and Caribbean leaders, the meeting was clouded by wrangling over how to address Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The Brazilian leader irritated Western countries earlier this year when he suggested the West had been “encouraging” war by arming Ukraine.
Lula said it was necessary for countries to “convince Russia and Ukraine that peace is the right way to go”.