Brazil was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the then European Economic Community, in 1960. Since then, the bilateral relationship has undergone several changes, but has always maintained its high importance in the framework of Brazilian foreign policy. With the signing of the Strategic Partnership in 2007, Brazil-European Union relations reached a new level, and opportunities for dialogue on global challenges and opportunities of bilateral or bi-regional interest (MERCOSUR with the EU) were expanded. The Partnership has helped Brazil and the EU to deepen political relations, streamline economic ties and diversify cooperation initiatives.
The relation at a strategic level presupposes intense dialogue and systematic consultations, which takes place through a series of meetings between representatives of the Brazilian Government and community bodies. In addition to the Summits at the presidential level, there are regular meetings between senior officials, specialists and technicians. Given the diversity of topics that make up the Strategic Partnership, there are more than 30 sectoral dialogues in progress, in areas such as peace and security, trade, investments, regulation, services, energy, information society, sustainable development, climate change, education and culture. Created in 1992, the bilateral Joint Committee plays the role of coordinating the broad bilateral thematic agenda. There are also regular meetings between representatives of civil societies and the business community, which contribute to bringing Brazilian and European societies closer together and to debate ideas on how to explore new opportunities and overcome challenges.
Economic-commercial relations are of great relevance for both sides. In the 2003-2019 period, trade exchanges more than doubled (growth of 54%). Taken as a whole, the EU is today Brazil's second largest trading partner, with a trade flow of $ 69.2 billion in 2019. In 2019 Brazilian exports to the European Union reached $ 35.9 billion (destination of 15.93% of Brazilian sales). The European bloc’s sales to Brazil reached $ 33.3 billion (origin of 18.8% of Brazilian purchases). The Brazilian surplus, in turn, exceeds two billion dollars ($ 2.55 billion). Some of the main products exported by Brazil to the European Union (2019) are: soy meal and feed (9.2%); unroasted coffee (6.5%); and iron ore (5.9%). From the European Union Brazil imports medications and pharmaceuticals (6.5%); other medications (6.2%); and fuel oils (5.8%).
The EU holds one of the most important investment stocks in Brazil, while Brazil has become an important source of foreign direct investments in the EU. Brazil stands out as the largest destination of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of the European Union countries in Latin America, with almost half of the stock located in the region. In addition, Brazil is the third largest destination of non-EU FDI, behind only the United States and Switzerland, which explains the strategic importance that the Brazilian economy has for European companies. The already dynamic economic relations have enormous potential for expansion: in addition to the prospects for increasing trade, especially with the expectation of concluding the negotiations for a trade agreement between MERCOSUR and the EU, reciprocal investments are expected to continue on an expansion path.
The cooperation agenda is equally intense. In the area of science and technology, Brazil and the EU cooperate closely in joint research and investment 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 advance in the formulation of structures that will allow them to expand the scope of their cooperation, such as trilateral cooperation. This modality complements South-South cooperation, a priority for Brazilian foreign policy, as it promotes the exchange of experiences on how to deal with challenges common to developing countries. It is also worth mentioning the discussions on Internet governance, a subject in which Brazil and the EU have identified converging positions – defense of a multisectoral, democratic and transparent model of governance, and the understanding that information and communication technologies can be a powerful development tool.
Chronology of bilateral relations
2019 – 6th Meeting of the High Level Political Dialogue Brazil-European Union – Joint Declaration (November 19)
2019 – 9th Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee for Brazil-European Union Scientific and Technological Cooperation (April 30)
2018 – 2nd Meeting of CELAC-EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels (July 16-17)
2017 – The Vice-President of the European Commission, Jyrki Katainen visits Brazil (November 10)
2017 – Minister Aloysio Nunes Ferreira holds meetings with the Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Employment, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen; with the Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström; with the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani; and with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini (August 29-30)
2017 – Brazil-European Union Joint Communiqué – Ten years of Strategic Partnership
2017 – 6th Brazil-European Union High Level Dialogue on Human Rights (Brussels, April 27)
2015 – President Dilma Rousseff visits Brussels, on the occasion of the 2nd Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the European Union – CELAC-EU (June 10-11)
2014 – President Dilma Rousseff visits Brussels (headquarters of the European Council). 7th Brazil-EU Summit
2013 – The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, visit Brazil. 6th Brazil-EU Summit
2013 – President Dilma Rousseff visits Santiago de Chile, on the occasion of the 1st Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the European Union – CELAC-UE (January 26-27)
2011 – 2nd Brazil-European Union Joint Action Plan (2012-2014)
2011 – Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota visits Brussels (January 26)
2011 – President Dilma Rousseff visits Brussels (headquarters of the European Council). 5th Brazil-EU Summit
2010 – The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, visit Brazil. 4th Brazil-EU Summit
2009 – President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva visits Stockholm (Sweden held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union at that time). 3rd Brazil-EU Summit
2008 – The President of the Council of the European Union, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, visit Brazil. 2nd Brazil-EU Summit
2007 – 1st Brazil-European Union Joint Action Plan (2008-2011)
2007 – 1st Brazil-European Union Summit. Launch of the Brazil-EU Strategic Partnership
2006 – The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, visits Brazil
2004 – Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation between Brazil and the European Union
1995 – Mercosur-European Community Interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement
1992 – Signing of the Interinstitutional Cooperation Agreement between the Mercosur Common Market Council and the European Commission
1960 – Establishment of diplomatic relations between Brazil and the European Community