German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R) meets with the new Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on the eve of Lula's inauguration ceremony.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R) meets with the new Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on the eve of Lula's inauguration ceremony. Photo: Jens Büttner/dpa

During a trip to Brasília for the inauguration of Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Brazil is reclaiming its stake as a key international player in both matters of the economy and the climate.

“It’s good to know that Brazil is back on the international stage,” Steinmeier said on Sunday shortly before Lula’s inauguration in Brasília.

“We need Brazil,” Steinmeier said when asked what interest Germany had in Lula’s success. “We need Brazilian political leadership that will play a role not only in economic cooperation but also in protecting the global climate.”

Steinmeier said he was happy to see that Lula is willing to play that very role with Brazil, noting that he hoped international cooperation would not only come from Germany.

Germany is set to begin with an initial €35 million ($37.5 million) donation to the Amazon Fund to protect the rainforest. These funds had been frozen under the right-wing government of President Jair Bolsonaro.

“It matters to all of us that we preserve the green lungs of the earth, the Amazon rainforests,” Steinmeier said.

The German president had met with left-wing politician Lula on Saturday evening shortly after his arrival in Brasília.

“After the conversation, I have the impression that we can be confident in the development of trade relations between South America and Europe,” Steinmeier said.

On the matter of the EU’s free-trade agreement with the Mercosur states in South America, Lula had made it clear that he would reverse Bolsonaro’s decision and re-enter the negotiations, Steinmeier said.

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