Brazil: A strategic partner for the EU

End of the signing ceremony of an agreement between Brazil and the EU: Ana de Hollanda, Brazilian Minister for Culture, in the foreground, on the left, and Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the EC in charge of Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, in the foreground, on the right, in the presence of Dilma Rousseff, Herman van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso (in the background, from left to right)

End of the signing ceremony of an agreement between Brazil and the EU: Ana de Hollanda, Brazilian Minister for Culture, in the foreground, on the left, and Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the EC in charge of Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, in the foreground, on the right, in the presence of Dilma Rousseff, Herman van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso (in the background, from left to right)

Brazil is one of the largest democracies of the world, and the offshore oil findings of the past few years, have helped the country become not only self-sufficient in hydrocarbons but also draw millions of its people out of poverty. The country is grouped by OECD to the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China), constituting the four largest fast developing economies of the world.

Brazilian society is sensitive to human rights and the environment and the government has agreed to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% in the year 2020. A generous obligation undertaking for a fast developing big country.Brazil’s relations with the European Union are multifaceted and cover almost every aspect of life, from the huge trade in goods exchanged every year, to the wide cultural exchanges and deep two-way historical influences. Let’s start from the most important chapter, which is no other than the economy.
According to the European statistical service, the Eurostat, between the years 2003 and 2008, EU27 exports of goods to Brazil increased steadily, but in 2009 they dropped to €21.6 billion, then they recovered strongly to reach a peak of €31.3bn in 2010. After growing between 2002 and 2008, imports rose from €25.7 billion in 2009, to €32.4bn in 2010, but remained below the level of €35.9bn recorded in 2008. After peaking at €11.3bn in 2007, the EU27 trade deficit in goods with Brazil fell steadily to €1.1bn in 2010.

The first half of 2011 showed a continued growth in EU27 trade with Brazil. Exports rose from €14.8bn in the first six months of 2010, to €16.9bn in the first half of 2011, and imports from €14.9bn to €18.5bn. As a result, the EU27 deficit in trade of goods with Brazil increased from €0.1bn in the first half of 2010 to €1.6bn in the same period of 2011. Brazil accounted for just over 2% of the EU27’s external trade in goods, and was the EU27’s ninth most important trading partner in the first six months of 2011.

Germany was by far the largest exporter to Brazil in the first half of 2001, followed by Italy, France and Spain. The Netherlands was the largest importer, followed by Germany, Italy, Spain and France.

The largest surpluses in trade with Brazil in the first half of 2011 were observed in Germany, followed by Sweden and Austria, and the largest deficits in the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
Around 90% of the EU27 exports to Brazil in the first half of 2011 were manufactured goods, while for imports raw materials accounted for a just over a third of the total and food and drink for just below a third. At the detailed level the main EU27 exports to Brazil were motor vehicles and parts, medicine and aircraft and parts, while the main imports were iron ore, coffee, oil cake, soya beans, wood pulp and crude oil.
Cultural relations
The European Commission and Brazil stepped up joint cooperation on cultural issues in 2011. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Ana de Hollanda, Minister of State of Culture of Brazil, signed a four-year joint action plan focusing on cultural diversity, cultural heritage and the development of a sustainable cultural and creative economy. Culture is a boom area for the European economy, with studies showing that it contributes 4.5% to Europe’s GDP and provides jobs for 8.5 million people.

Brazil also has a vibrant cultural and heritage sector: the country has 11 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List, including the historic towns of Ouro Preto, Olinda and Salvador de Bahia, which attract thousands of European and other tourists. Commissioner Vassiliou and Minister Ana de Hollanda signed this new ‘Joint Programme on Culture’, which runs until the end of 2014.

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