Ukraine conflict sparks differences at EU-Latin America summit
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, surrounded by Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, Presidents of the European Council and of the Commission, in Brussels, July 17, 2023. EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP
The summit between the Member States of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), in Brussels, was to be an opportunity for rapprochement, but differences over the war in Ukraine have affected the discussions.
The wording of the final declaration, in which the Europeans made a point of mentioning Russian aggression, gave rise to lengthy discussions before and during the summit. Discussions were still ongoing late Tuesday afternoon.
Only Nicaragua showed up ” reluctant “ as for the latest version of the text, said the French President, Emmanuel Macron, during the second day of this summit bringing together around fifty heads of state and government. According to several diplomatic sources, Venezuela and Cuba, other partners of Moscow, have also expressed reservations.
Emmanuel Macron underlined the role played by his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, believing that he was doing “part of those who build bridges”. The Brazilian president has drawn criticism from the international community by repeatedly claiming that responsibility for the conflict is shared, even though he recently condemned the Russian invasion.
His idea of forming a “peace group” of neutral countries mediating the conflict had been coolly received. Brazil has refused to impose sanctions on Russia, which, according to Lula, “penalize the most vulnerable”. “I think he is now perfectly lucid about the nature of this war and its food or other consequences”judged Emmanuel Macron.
“Here in Europe, it’s hard to imagine, but in Latin America, Russia is presented as a peaceful country that has been attacked by NATO”, had previously commented on the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki. The Latin American countries had made it known before the summit that they did not want to see the subject of Ukraine monopolize the discussions to the detriment of other priorities, hoping in particular to advance the agreement between the EU and Mercosur (Argentina , Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay).