Global player and "key partner"
Westerwelle and Patriota
© photothek / Köhler
“Brazil’s success during the last decade has been breathtaking,” said Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in Brasilia on 13 February at the start of his South America trip. He went on to say that Brazil was the powerhouse of Latin America and one of the key new global players. It was therefore important to Germany not only to cooperate with Brazil in the economic sphere but also to coordinate with the country politically, as the two partners had done while they were both members of the UN Security Council in 2011.
“If we want to achieve anything in global politics – whether it be in the field of environmental protection, peacekeeping or any other sphere – then it’s good to have a regular exchange of views with Brazil,” Guido Westerwelle continued. Following talks with his counterpart Antonio Patriota, the German Foreign Minister described Brazil as a “key partner”. Germany and Brazil had agreed on joint action, for example reform of the UN Security Council.
The number of mutual visits showed that the two countries wanted to further expand relations, stated Guido Westerwelle. He himself was on his second bilateral visit to the South American country since taking up office. President Roussef will be visiting Germany in a few weeks’ time.
The Federal Foreign Minister’s visit to Brazil is also intended to open doors for German business. “Diplomatic and economic interests are closely interlinked,” stressed Guido Westerwelle. Economic relations have become even closer during recent years.
Germany is one of Brazil’s most important trading partners. In 2010, German imports rose by 31 per cent compared to the previous year, and exports even increased by more than 43 per cent. Germany is thus Brazil’s fourth largest source of imports.
The Federal Foreign Minister expressed his firm belief that the European Union’s relations with the South American economic organization Mercosur now had to be intensified. Germany was counting on Brazil’s Mercosur Presidency in the second half of 2012. Free trade was an engine of growth and thus in the interest of both sides.
Mercosur’s member states are Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Venezuela has signed an accession agreement but has not yet been officially admitted. Relations between the European Union and Mercosur are based on the Framework Cooperation Agreement, which entered into force on 1 July 1999. Since the end of 1999 the EU has been negotiating the conclusion of a bi regional Association Agreement with Mercosur.
Setting an example
Guido Westerwelle addressing the Federation of Brazilian Industries
© photothek / Köhler
Guido Westerwelle also addressed the Federation of Brazilian Industries (CNI) during his stay in Brasilia. The sovereign debt crisis in Europe was the focus of his speech, as well as the focal point of interest for the audience. Guido Westerwelle stated that the provision of short-term liquidity alone would not suffice and that Europe would have to convince the markets that the euro area would be an area of enduring financial stability in future. Europe was laying the foundation for a new stability culture with the fiscal compact.
In Foreign Minister Westerwelle’s view, Brazil had shown that combining budgetary reforms and an active growth policy can lead to success. For example, Brazilian federal states and municipalities are not permitted to fall into debt and superordinate institutions have oversight and intervention rights. The structural reforms of recent years had thus laid “the cornerstones for the country’s tremendous economic successes”.
On the other hand, budgetary discipline alone would not be enough to master the situation in Europe, said Guido Westerwelle. Rather, competitiveness was the key to more growth, as Brazil’s President Rousseff had also pointed out in previous weeks.
A new showcase for Germany
The key to the German Science and Innovation Forum
Foreign Minister Westerwelle left Brasilia on 14 February and travelled on to São Paulo, where he officially opened the new German Science and Innovation Forum. “This is a great showcase for Germany,” said Guido Westerwelle. It was also good for Germany’s standing – in economic, cultural and scientific terms – that it was presenting itself “in such an excellent manner”, he went on to say. “Education, vocational training and research are the most important resources in the age of globalization,” he explained. A country’s success hinged on them.
Guido Westerwelle went on to say that Brazil is Germany’s most important partner in Latin America when it came to cooperation on education and research. With more than 100 events, the 2010/2011 German-Brazilian Year of Science has injected “new momentum” into relations in the field of science, and the opening of the Forum was a tangible expression of this momentum. “It embodies the links among research, science and companies with a strong research focus and promotes German-Brazilian relations,” said Guido Westerwelle.
Since 2009, the Federal Foreign Office has been promoting and coordinating the establishment of six German Science and Innovation Forums in New York, São Paulo, Tokyo, New Delhi, Moscow and Cairo in collaboration with the Federal Research Ministry, the Alliance of Science Organizations in Germany and companies with a strong research focus. The establishment of the Forum was overseen by the German Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo and the German Academic Exchange Service. The Forum is to promote Germany as a location for research and innovation, intensify scientific and technological cooperation and advise German and Brazilian researchers and scientists.
Germany Year in Brazil 2013-2014
The logo for the Germany Year in Brazil 2013-2014"
In São Paulo, Foreign Minister Westerwelle presented the forthcoming Germany Year in Brazil and unveiled – together with the project partners the Federation of German Industries and the Goethe-Institut – the newly designed logo developed for the year.
“From May 2013 we’ll be celebrating a festival of ideas on shaping our future together,” said Guido Westerwelle. With an “attractive mix of information and entertainment”, Germany would showcase itself as an innovative and creative partner for Brazil. The motto of the year is “Germany and Brazil – when ideas come together”.
Between May 2013 and May 2014, Germany will offer an all-round impression of its economy, culture, research, education and much more in key Brazilian cities with a view to raising interest in Germany. The Presidents of the two countries assumed patronage of the project in May 2011. The Federal Foreign Office is executing the project, while the Federation of German Industries, supported by the Goethe-Institut, will be in charge of project management.
Final stop in Rio
Guido Westerwelle with a seller in Mangueira, a favela in Rio de Janeiro
© Photothek / Köhler
One of the places Foreign Minister Westerwelle visited in Rio de Janeiro was a slum – or a “favela” as it is known in Brazil. The Brazilian favelas are notorious hotbeds of crime and violence. Mangueira has around 30,000 inhabitants and not long ago became one of the pacified favelas.
Ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, a security perimeter is being created by deploying police pacification units and developing infrastructure. “I welcome the Brazilian authorities determination to try and curtail violence,” said Guido Westerwelle during his visit to Mangueira.
Guido Westerwelle in the Minha Casa Minha Vida estate in Mangueira favela in Rio de Janeiro
© Photothek / Köhler
The resolution of the security issue, the measures to combat crime and violence, were of great importance to people, he went on to say. Germany was therefore helping the authorities in Rio de Janeiro to improve the security situation. In a pilot project, the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is fitting all homes with solar collectors for warm water.
Taking stock at the end of his Brazil trip, Guido Westerwelle said that Europeans should pay close attention to the country. “We should waste no time in working on our strategic partnership with Brazil, for we’ll be hearing a lot from Brazil in future.”
After leaving Brazil, Foreign Minister Westerwelle is going on to visit Peru and Panama and take part in a G20 foreign ministers meeting in Mexico.
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Last updated 13.02.2012