Amazon deforestation and the EU-Mercosur deal

At a Glance 11-07-2023

The victory in the 2022 Brazilian presidential election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the left-wing Workers' Party, who ran on a platform of – among other things – protecting the Amazon and indigenous peoples' rights, has raised hopes in the EU of completing the long-standing negotiations on an EU-Mercosur association agreement. Since January 2023, Lula has deployed a number of recycled but updated policy tools from the early 2000s, which, it is assumed, will deliver similarly positive results in curbing deforestation as in the past. However, times have changed. Amid an underwhelming economic outlook and a weak political power base, Lula and the environmentalist members of his government face an uphill battle to put Brazil on a path to zero deforestation by 2030 and to reconcile this aim with the need to boost economic growth to reduce poverty and inequality. Tangible progress will take time to emerge given the damage caused during the past four years.