Foreign Minister Maas was the first representative of an EU government to visit President Bolsonaro in Brazil. He did not spare with critical words – and met with surprisingly little opposition.
Brazil’s new government is and will remain a difficult partner, but at least in small steps it will return to old friends like Germany.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was the first representative of an EU government to meet President Jair Bolsonaro – and at least there is a desire to work together a little better again.
Critical topics were also discussed
Maas said he also raised the contentious issues, such as Bolsonaro’s failure against minorities or his critical stance on climate change.
„I pointed out to him that Brazil is an important country that has to play its part in the international community,“ said Maas. Therefore, there should be „no additional irritation“ – as in the past by statements on climate change or to protect the rainforest or indigenous peoples. Brazil must be trustworthy on the international stage. Bolsonaro himself saw it that way.
Moderate voices on the upswing
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Araújo also made conciliatory remarks: „For Brazil, the partnership with Germany is more important than it ever was,“ he said, but postponed that he sees Germany above all as a partner in economic matters.
Politically, moderate votes in Brasília seem to gain the upper hand at the moment. The government has withdrawn some of its threats, but now wants to remain in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and in the United Nations Human Rights Council for the time being.
Brazil is also about values in politics, emphasizes Araújo, „the values we share with Germany and many other partners: democracy, freedom and many others“. These are at least new accents of Brazil’s foreign minister, who has been noticed as an agitator in the government until now.
German hopes fulfilled
Apparently Bolsonaro no longer relies on his proximity to Donald Trump alone. Maas concludes that his visit has shown how important it is to „talk to governments like the Brazilian“.
In recent months, there have been many statements that have caused worries and confusion. But in terms of multilateralism and international responsibility, he had heard from his Brazilian counterpart exactly what Germany hoped for from Brazil.
Unity on the subject of Venezuela
The meeting in Brasília was overshadowed by the developments in Venezuela – and at least on this issue, Germany and Brazil are completely on one side, says Maas, both are looking for a peaceful solution. „We want there to be a perspective for new elections and that is why we support Juan Guaidó in this situation as well.“
It is still important that the suffering of the people under the rule of Maduro must come to an end. But he also stressed that there had to be a political solution, not a military one. Venezuela is in a very sensitive phase. Germany and its partners did not want the guns to speak.
Araújo also agrees with this assessment – thus revising his previous position. In the past he had once demanded military intervention.