Amid tensions with the European Union over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Lula da Silva arrived in Portugal

Lula da Silva landed in Lisbon this Friday accompanied by his wife, Rosangela (Photo: Twitter)

The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, arrived in Portugal on Friday amid an increase in tensions with the European Union over its position on the war in Ukraine after he hinted that the invaded country and the West share responsibility in the conflict.

Lula tweeted images of his arrival in Lisbon showing him walking down a red carpet accompanied by his wife, Rosangela.

The president said last weekend during a tour of the United Arab Emirates and China that both Ukraine and Russia had decided to go to war, and that the United States was “fostering” the fight. Earlier this month, Lula upset Ukraine, the United States and the EU when he proposed that Ukraine cede Crimeawhich Russia annexed in 2014, to end the current conflict.

Lula also welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Brasilia on Monday. The next day, Lula condemned the “violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity” while pushing his proposal that a club of nations, including Brazil, mediate a peaceful solution to the war.

Lula’s visit to Portugal is an opportunity to make up for some of the damage his comments caused to relations between Brazil and the EU, he said. Guilherme Casarões, political scientist at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a think tank and university in São Paulo. “It could be an important step for Lula to show that he really wants to adopt a balanced or equidistant position between the parties involved in the conflict, which could allow Brazil to play the role of mediator in the medium term”, said Casarões.

Lula is scheduled to meet with the President and Prime Minister of Portugal this weekend. and attend the summit between the two countries with various ministers. He is also scheduled to attend the award ceremony for Brazilian musician and writer Chico Buarque on Monday.

The Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, in a file photograph (EFE/Lavandeira jr)
The Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, in a file photograph (EFE/Lavandeira jr) (Lavandeira jr/)

In addition, it is scheduled that on Tuesday Lula will deliver a speech before the Portuguese Parliament, on the anniversary of the 1974 Carnation Revolution that ended half a century of authoritarian rule in Portugal.

Trade will also be high on the agenda, with Lula pushing for the implementation of an agreement between the European Union and the South American bloc Mercosur. It was signed in 2019 but has not yet entered into force as not all EU member nations and Mercosur have ratified the pact.

“Through this trip to Portugal, Lula seeks to get closer to the European Union itself,” added Casarões. “Portugal is an ally of Brazil within the European Union and can serve as a platform for Brazil to defend its position in the context of these negotiations.”

During the presidency of Lula’s predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, France and other EU members expressed concern that the deal could increase the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Lula, for his part, has tried to show that Protecting the environment is a top priority for his government, and he has vowed to end illegal deforestation by 2030.

(With information from AP)

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