Belated Courtship? The Uneasy Partnership between Brazil and the EU
NUPI Policy Brief
Head of Communications
The EU accorded the status of “strategic partner” to Brazil in 2007. While the aim of this was to foster more effective cooperation with the Latin American giant, the record of the partnership is less than clear. While the strategic partnership was a clear acknowledgement of Brazil’s aspirations and status potential, it may have been sealed too late to have an impact on Brazil’s trajectory towards a more prominent global role and may mean too little for actually changing the course of EU–Brazil relations. For, viewed from Brasilia, the extent to which the special partnership has affected the relationship between the EU and Brazil remains an open question. Despite its new status as a strategic partner, Brazil’s foreign policy has been surfing on the waves of South–South cooperation schemes. So, while the EU remains a market for Brazilian exports which can-not be overlooked, Brazil’s search for new partners and China’s increased prominence in its trade balance have provided a new range of opportunities in foreign policy. As other states, including Norway, are now working out strategies to seal more formalized relationships with Brazil – and other emerging powers, for that matter – the strategic partnership between Brazil and the EU offers important lessons to take into account. While the strategic partnership was initially more valuable for Brazil, this did not last. Further-more, it was unclear what the new label entailed in practice, and how it was supposed to affect actual cooperation patterns.
Norwegian Institute of International Affairs