German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during a visit to Brazil’s capital on Monday pledged €200 million (roughly $215 million) to help Brazil defend the Amazon rainforest.
Also on Monday, Scholz said he was delighted about Brazil’s return to the world stage. The comments come weeks after the inauguration of Brazil’s new president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The package includes a new €31 million fund for Brazilian states for rainforest protection. The German Development Ministry said €93 million would go towards reforesting projects.
Another €35 million had been halted by Germany and Norway under former President Jair Bolsonaro and was reactivated.
Funds in the package are also earmarked for renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives and reforestation programs. While speaking in Brasilia, Scholz said that Brazil had an important role in “driving the global green transition.”
Shortly before Scholz’s arrival, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze announced that Berlin would make additional Amazon preservation funds available after “difficult years.”
“Brazil is the lung of the world. If it has problems, we all have to help it,” Schulze said in Brasilia.
Brazil saw an increase in fires and clear-cutting of the Amazon under Bolsonaro’s government, with deforestation rising by 59.5% during his four years in office compared to the four before.
The German chancellor said that Berlin wanted quick progress on a free trade deal between the European Union and Mercosur.
Scholz said that Lula and Brazil could count on Brazil’s solidarity. The German chancellor’s visit comes just weeks after supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stormed government buildings in Brasilia.
Scholz’s visit also coincided with news of Bolsonaro seeking a tourist visa to remain in the US for six months.
Germany’s chancellor said that Berlin shared a common position with Brasilia, with both governments condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at a joint press conference in Brasilia, January 30, 2023.
Brazil did vote to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in votes at the UN General Assembly but it has not joined western countries in sanctioning Moscow.
Lula also said in response to a journalist’s question about sending tank ammunition for use by Ukraine that Brazil had “no interest” in this.
“Brazil is a country of peace and therefore does not want any involvement in this war, not even indirect,” he said. He urged Russia and Ukraine to negotiate, saying “until now the word peace is used very little.”
Scholz, meanwhile, said: “There can be no peace over the heads of Ukrainians, which is why we always said the condition for peace talks was Russia moving to withdraw troops.”
Source : DW