French President Emmanuel Macron concludes a state visit to Brazil on Thursday by addressing differences with his Brazilian counterpart Lula da Silva over Ukraine and rejecting the EU-Mercosur trade deal.

French President Emmanuel Macron ends his three-day state visit to Brazil on Thursday on a more political note, with the focus on his disagreement with his counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva over Ukraine.

Already on Wednesday, the Head of State had hit the nail on the head on another controversial subject, proclaiming to Brazilian entrepreneurs that the trade agreement between the European Union and the Mercosur countries (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia) should be buried.

The EU-Mercosur agreement “as it is negotiated today is a very bad agreement, for you and for us,” said Mr. Macron in Sao Paulo (southeast), the economic capital.

“Let’s build a new agreement (…) that is responsible from a development, climate and biodiversity point of view,” he defended, while Brazil, a heavyweight in Mercosur, wants the treaty to be concluded, as do certain key European partners such as Germany and Spain.

“We should make the most of the opportunities for greater trade between the European Union and Mercosur. We still have time,” replied Brazilian Economy Minister Fernando Haddad on Wednesday in Sao Paulo.


Before “putting his foot down” on the EU-Mercosur agreement, Emmanuel Macron and his Brazilian counterpart celebrated the “strength” of the bilateral partnership by attending the christening of Brazil’s third French-designed submarine at the Itaguai shipyard, near Rio.

This “will enable two important countries, each on a different continent, to prepare themselves so that we can face up to adversity,” said Lula.

Evoking “the same vision of the world,” Mr. Macron said that “sometimes we need to know how to speak the language of firmness to protect peace.”

President Macron also stressed that France would continue to “stand shoulder to shoulder” with Brazil as it plans to build its first nuclear attack submarine. But the project is racking up delays.

“If Brazil wants to have access to the knowledge of nuclear technology, it is not to wage war” but to support countries “that want peace,” assured Lula.

Global South

On the last day of his visit on Thursday, Macron will be welcomed in Brasilia by Lula for talks dominated by major international issues.

Macron is expected to reiterate the importance he believes the G20, chaired this year by Brazil, should continue to attach to the war in Ukraine.

Lula, who sees himself as the champion of the “global South,” insists that responsibility in Ukraine is shared, and refuses to take sides against Russia.

We must “know how to defend with credibility the international order in which we believe,” said the French president at the shipyard, without mentioning Ukraine.

The Brazilian president also persists in accusing Israel of “genocide” against the Palestinians in Gaza, as does South Africa.

France is not on this line because it does not correspond to the “truth on the ground,” Emmanuel Macron recently reiterated.

Valérie Leroux, with AFP