Brazil and Transatlantic Relations / by Mark Langevin

Earlier this month, Mark S. Langevin, Ph.D., Director of BrazilWorks published "Brazil, Energy and the Atlantic Basin Opportunity" in the pages of, an open think tank.  The piece was part of a larger effort to develop a series of recommendations on Brazil and the Atlantic basin.  Below you will find a synthesis of all the contributions, but do not reflect the precise conclusions drawn by each contributing author.

Taken together, the recommendations imply that Europe and North America must come to grips with Brazil's growing role in global affairs, especially in the are of energy.  Accordingly, the recommendations direct attention to the need to institutionalize and expand upon dialogues involving Brazil and other transatlantic partners with respect to both the pursuit of national interests as well as collective efforts to confront global challenges.

Please consider these recommendations and respond. POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Institutionalize existing dialogue between the transatlantic partners and Brazil.

The transatlantic partners must recognize the success of Brazil's initiatives in combating problems in the developing world by working more closely with Brazil to extend these initiatives

1.1 Establish an EU-Brazil Center focused on tackling global development issues.

The European Union should build on the strategic partnership it established with Brazil in 2007. The combined experience of these two "civilian powers" in international development has the potential to make a real difference in developing countries. Existing dialogue should be institutionalized through the creation of an EU-Brazil Center, that brings together important think tanks and government officials from Brazil and the EU to share knowledge and develop policies related to sustainable development, climate change, and the fight against global epidemics, such as hunger and AIDS (Fraundorfer).

  1. Greater cooperation on global energy policy.

Brazil has both great prospects as a future petroleum exporter and as a leader in renewable energy technology. The transatlantic community must work with Brazil to ensure that the country's expertise and potential is developed in such a way that it benefits both Brazil and the international community.

2.1 Work with Brazil to create an Atlantic Basin biofuels market.

Brazil can take a leadership role in creating an Atlantic Basin biofuels market which could decrease carbon emissions and increase global energy security, while directing greater investment, innovation, and technology toward developing countries. The US and Europe must support Brazil by building on the 2007 Brazil-US bilateral biofuels cooperation accord. They should aim to liberalize trade in biofuels; collaborate on the development and commercial standardization of second generation biofuels; and create opportunities for rural development and energy security for the poorest of the Atlantic basin nations (Langevin).

2.2 Ensure the safe and environmentally sustainable exploration and production of the ultra-deepwater "pre-sal" oil and gas reserves.

It is in the interest of the US and the EU to ensure that Brazil's vast fossil fuel resources are exploited safely and sustainably (McFarland; Trebat). It is therefore important that international partners, both public and private, work with Brazil to ensure this (Langevin). Moreover, Brazil should be encouraged to adopt a carbon tax to finance sustainable oil and gas production, to invest in climate adaptation strategies, and to mitigate carbon emissions and other greenhouses gases.

2.3 Encourage initiatives aimed at preserving the Amazon rainforest.

Brazil has the potential to play a leading role in the global campaign against deforestation. As deforestation has global implications, it should be a priority of the transatlantic partners to support Brazil's efforts. This should include allowing industrial polluters to purchase carbon-offsets generated by rainforest preservation (Catarrasa); and working with Brazil to put in place a formal agreement to mitigate carbon emissions caused by the activities of the Brazilian government and corporations in the Amazon (McFarland).

  1. Encourage Brazil to take on more of a leadership role in international institutions.

It is to the benefit of Western powers to encourage Brazil to take on greater responsibility in international institutions as it would strengthen the legitimacy, and thus the influence, of these institutions and their policies in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in the broader Global South (Sanchez).

3.1 Appreciate and strengthen Brazil's role in the UN and its subdivisions. If the UN Security Council is reformed to include more permanent members, the transatlantic community should unequivocally support Brazil as the natural candidate to represent Latin America and the Caribbean (SanchezTrebat). As such reform seems unlikely at present, the transatlantic community should work to better appreciate and strengthen Brazil's role in the UN in other ways. First, it should create a UN forum for the exchange of ideas on peacekeeping and crisis response, utilizing Brazil's expertise in urban conflict and social welfare programs (Trebat). Second, Brazil, along with other countries vying for UNSC membership, should be encouraged to work more closely with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs to promote poverty-fighting initiatives. In particular, UNSC aspirants should take a leading role in following up on the Rio+20 conference, with the responsibility of ensuring that the recommendations, ideas, and pledges made at Rio+20 are not forgotten (Sanchez).

3.2 Work with Brazil to achieve progress on the long-stalled Doha Round. In an effort to make progress toward concluding the Doha Round, the transatlantic community should solicit Brazil's support in bridging the long-standing differences between the North and South on issues of trade liberalization, such as market access and agricultural trade. To help with this, they should demonstrate their support for Robert Azevedo, Brazil's current Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO), to take over as next Director-General of the WTO (Trebat).

3.3 Extend OECD membership to Brazil.

Brazil's recent economic progress and its role as a force for good in the global South warrant recognition. The transatlantic partners should recognize Brazil's growing global role by extending Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) membership status to Brazil (Labarre).

Laura Catarrasa is a Master's student at the University of Catania, Italy.

Markus Fraundorfer is a PhD candidate at the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg.

Georgi Ivanov has a master's degree in political science from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

Frederic Labarre is an independent Strategic and Defense Analyst.

Professor Mark S. Langevin is the Director of Brazil-Works.

David Lowenstein is studying International Relations at the University of Southern California.

Leah McFarland is a former Foreign Service Officer assigned to Sao Paulo.

Wilder A. Sanchez is a Research Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

Gabrielle Trebat is a Director at McLarty Associates.

Atlantic Memos showcase the best ideas and arguments from debates in the Open Think Tank on Please take the next step and help us spread the word. You can download a PDF copy of this Atlantic Memo to distribute to your local or national decision-makers. The recommendations expressed above come from your Atlantic Community.