“He has always been against us”: Emmanuel Macron receives ex-Brazilian President Lula, a “provocation” for Bolsonaro

“Macron has always been against us, he has always attacked us on the issue of the Amazon. So it really looks like it’s a provocation,” said the far-right leader in an interview with Radio Sociedade, a radio station from Bahia (northeast). “Macron and Lula go well together, they get along well and speak the same language,” he added.

As part of a vast European tour, Lula was received last week by Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace for a lunch and an interview “on the latest developments on the international scene”.

The former Brazilian president (2003-2010) “shared his vision of the role of Brazil in the world, noting that over the past three years, the country has taken a step back from the multilateral framework and major international agreements”, had specified the Elysee in a press release.

Lula is widely favored in the 2022 presidential election, although he is not due to announce until early next year whether or not he will run for a third term.

In 2019, Mr. Bolsonaro had heated discussions with Mr. Macron on social networks after criticism from the French president on the increase in fires in the Amazon.

And last January, the Brazilian president asked his French counterpart to stop “talking nonsense” about the impact of soybean production on deforestation.

“For the love of God, Mr. Macron, do not buy Brazilian soybeans, as you do not deforest the Amazon. Buy soybeans in France,” he said ironically.

The French president is one of the main opponents of the ratification of the trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur, in particular because of the problems of deforestation in the Amazon.

Deforestation has increased sharply since the coming to power in January 2019 of Jair Bolsonaro, who has been the subject of international criticism for weakening environmental surveillance, while being in favor of the authorization of mining or agricultural activities in protected areas.

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