This Thursday, Portugal’s foreign minister said that at a time when the European Union (EU) seeks to diversify suppliers and markets, MERCOSUR is a natural partner whose importance cannot be “underestimated”.
For Portugal, “the current delicate context makes us appreciate even more the mutual advantages of the Agreement between the EU and MERCOSUR,” João Gomes Cravinho said, without directly referring to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
“At a time when the EU is seeking to diversify suppliers and markets in order to ensure greater strategic autonomy, MERCOSUR is a natural partner, whose importance we cannot underestimate“, the minister added at a conference entitled “Brazil and Portugal: perspectives for the future”, which takes place from Thursday to Friday at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.
The Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) is a South American economic bloc created in 1991, whose founding members are Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
But still, within the framework of the European Union, Joao Gomes Cravinho believed that EU strategic partnership with Brazil left ‘untapped’.
The Minister stressed that in the context of the EU, Portugal “always knew how to use its position in favor of strengthening relations with Brazil.”
Therefore, it was during the Portuguese presidency, in 2007, that a “strategic partnership with Brazil” was established, he stressed.
However, according to the head of Portuguese diplomacy, this is “a partnership that has clearly not been used for a variety of reasons and which still retains the ability to position Brazil as Europe’s great interlocutor for South America.”
With regard to bilateral relations between the two countries, the minister emphasized that “in this context of global turmoil, the wisdom of the central characteristic common to the foreign policy of Brazil and Portugal, which is active participation in many multilateral structures, in recognition of the indispensability of multilateralism, international cooperation and global rules based order.
Portugal meets with Brazil in all areas of Portuguese foreign policy. We are Atlantic, we are Ibero-American and Portuguese-speaking,” he said.
In the Atlantic dimension, “Portugal and Brazil are united by an ocean, which we recognize as growing in importance in the context of new, complex and truly existential issues,” he said.
According to João Gomes Cravinho, “Some of these problems can be answered in the Atlantic Center, co-founded by Portugal and Brazil”, and “the other part of the huge ocean problems will be addressed in detail at the great Summit.” Oceans”, which will be held in Lisbon next week.
“In any of the areas, new prospects are opening up for Portuguese-Brazilian relations,” he stressed.
With regard to Ibero-America, the minister believes that Portugal and Brazil share “an enormous strategic space with the Castilian-speaking countries, where a joint Portuguese-Brazilian reflection is undoubtedly recommended on the potential to exploit opportunities and create synergies”.
“Value of CPLP [Comunidade de Países de Língua Portuguesa] is gaining more and more recognition at the international level – and the evidence of this is the growing number of states that become associate observers” of the organization, he believes.
“Because they want to engage with us and reinforce the value of the linguistic, cultural and historical ties that unify lusophony and create a unique dynamic for relationships with third parties,” he stressed.
But even at this level, he argued that there was an urgent need to find a “convergence of visions and desires” that “allows us to enhance” our “separate realities.”
The minister also mentioned that “despite the break caused by the pandemic”, Portugal has a “real air bridge” with Brazil, consisting of more than 74 weekly TAP flights, which is a cause and effect of “a dynamic that is being updated and reinvented”. relations between the two countries.
This dynamic, according to Gomes Cravinho, is also reflected in economic and commercial relations.
Thus, “Brazil is the first Latin American export market for Portuguese merchandise and is already the fourth largest merchandise export destination (outside the EU).
“However, the conviction remains that the potential is far from being realized, and that nostalgia for the future entails a vision of a different profile of our exchanges, a technological, creative profile that corresponds to global geo-economic transformations,” he defended. .
At this stage, João Gomes Cravinho also underlined the potential of the port of Sines, “whose strategic importance, which has long been noted, takes on new importance in the troubled times that we are going through.”