Brazil was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the then-European Economic Community, in 1960. Since then, bilateral relationship has changed, but has maintained its high importance within the framework of Brazilian foreign policy. Following the signing of the Strategic Partnership, in 2007, the Brazil-European Union relations reached a new stage, and opportunities for dialogue on global challenges and for bilateral or bi-regional interest (MERCOSUR and CELAC with the EU) were extended. The partnership has contributed to Brazil and the EU to deepen political relations, boost economic ties and diversify cooperation initiatives.
The strategic relationship infers intensive dialogue and systematic consultations, which are held through a series of meetings between representatives of the Brazilian Government and community bodies. In addition to the Summits at the presidential level, regular meetings between senior officials, experts and technicians are also held. Due to the diversity of the topics that are part of the Strategic Partnership, there are more than 30 sectoral dialogues in progress in areas such as peace and security, trade, investment, regulation, services, energy, information society, sustainable development, climate change, education and culture. The bilateral Joint Committee, established in 1992, coordinates this broad bilateral agenda. There are also regular meetings between representatives of civil society and entrepreneurs, which contributes to bring Brazilian and European societies closer together and to discuss ideas on how to explore new opportunities and overcome challenges.
Economic and trade relations are of great relevance to both sides. Between 2003 and 2018, trade more than doubled. Taken as a whole, the EU is Brazil's second largest trading partner, with a trade flow of US$ 76.8 billion in 2018. The EU holds one of the most important investment stocks in Brazil, while the country has become an important source of foreign direct investments in the EU. Brazil stands out as the largest destination, in Latin America, of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from the EU countries, corresponding to almost half of the stock located in the region. Moreover, Brazil is the third largest destination of extra-EU FDI, behind only the United States and Switzerland, which reveals the strategic importance that the Brazilian economy has for European companies. The dynamic economic relations have enormous potential for expansion: in addition to the prospects for increasing trade, especially with the expectation of conclusion of trade agreement negotiations between MERCOSUR and the EU, reciprocal investments are expected to continue on an expansion path.
The cooperation agenda is also intense. In science and technology, Brazil and the EU cooperate closely in joint researches and investments in areas such as biofuels and information technology. As the headquarters of important research centers, the EU is a key partner in technology and innovation projects, which can contribute to a qualitative leap in Brazilian development.
Brazil and the EU have also sought to move forward in the formulation of structures that will extend the scope of their cooperation, such as trilateral cooperation. This form comprehends South-South cooperation, a priority for the Brazilian foreign policy, as it promotes the exchange of experiences on how to deal with common challenges to developing countries. It is also worth mentioning the discussions on internet governance, in which Brazil and the EU have identified convergence of positions - defense of a multi-sector model, democratic and transparent governance, and the understanding that information and communication technologies can be a powerful tool for development.
Chronology of Bilateral Relations
1960 – Brazil and the European Community establish diplomatic relations
1992 – Institutional Cooperation Agreement is signed between the Common Market Council of MERCOSUR and the European Commission
1995 – MERCOSUR-European Community Interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement
2004 – Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation between Brazil and the European Union
2006 – The European Commission President, José Manuel Durão Barroso, pays a working visit to Brazil
2007 – First Brazil-European Union Summit. The Brazil-EU Strategic Partnership is launched
2007 – First Brazil-European Union Joint Action Plan (2008-2011)
2008 – The President of the European Union Council, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, pay a working visit to Brazil. Second Brazil-EU Summit
2009 – President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva pays a working visit to Stockholm. Sweden held the European Union Council's presidency at that time. Third Brazil-EU Summit.
2010 – The European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, and the European Commission President, José Manuel Durão Barroso, pay a working visit to Brazil. Fourth Brazil-EU Summit
2011 – President Dilma Rousseff pays a working visit to Brussels - European Council headquarters. Fifth Brazil-EU Summit
2011 – Second Brazil-European Union Joint Action Plan (2012-2014)
2013 – President Dilma Rousseff pays a working visit to Santiago on the occasion of the First Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the European Union Summit - CELAC–EU (January 26-27)
2017 – Sixth Brazil-European Union High Level Dialogue on Human Rights (Brussels, April 27)
2017 – Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes Ferreira holds meetings with the European Commission's Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen; the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström; the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini (August 29 - 30)
2017 – Vice-President of the European Commission Jyrki Katainen pays a working visit to Brazil (November 10)
2018 – Second Meeting of CELAC-EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels (July 16-17)
2019 – Ninth Meeting of the Brazil-EU Steering Committee for Scientific and Technological Cooperation (April 30)
2019 – Sixth Meeting of the Brazil-EU High Level Political Dialogue - Joint Declaration (November 19)