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Rousseff Hosts Merkel to Strengthen Relationship

08/19/2015 - 08h53

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LEANDRO COLON
FROM LONDON

In the midst of an unprecedented rebellion within her party, German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives in Brazil on Wednesday (19) for a lightning visit to President Dilma Rousseff, who is also dipped into an unprecedented political crisis in the government.

The trip was announced in mid-February, when Rousseff still breathed politically and Merkel was leading with tranquility the course of European politics.

Both united in 2013 to react to the revelation that they were the target of espionage by the U.S. Intelligence Service.

Last year, Merkel was in Brazil to attend the World Cup - won by Germany - alongside Rousseff.

Now, the Workers' Party lives a political chaos, and Merkel faces a political weakening in all Europe, but especially among Germans, because of the negotiations that led to a new euro-zone bailout to Greece, worth € 86 billion (R$ 330 billion).

Rousseff will present an investment plan in infrastructure and will try to use the Chancellor's visit to show external prestige in a moment of weakness.

Merkel delayed the visit to Brazil in a few hours to prevent the Parliament in Berlin voted against Greek aid.

Leaders of her party, the CDU (Christian Democratic Union), threatened to overturn the agreement. For the first time since she took over in 2005, Merkel has her leadership challenged.

The Chancellor will be in Brasília for less than 24 hours, but she will bring with her a heavyweight delegation: seven Ministers and five Secretaries of State.

It will be the first bilateral meeting since Germany included Brazil on the list of countries with which it keeps high level relationship. Among the emergent ones, only India and China have such status.

Despite the economic crisis in Brazil, Merkel's administration seeks investments to approximately 1,300 German companies operating in the country.

In recent days, the European newspapers prominently reported the protests against Rousseff's administration.

The Chancellor's spokesman Steffen Seibert was asked whether the trip to Brazil would happen in a good moment. He downplayed and said such bilateral meetings do not take into account the current context of the country.

A welcome dinner should be held today at Palácio da Alvorada, the President's official residence.

Merkel and Rousseff will meet on Thursday (20) there and both will make a statement to the press about the importance of the bilateral relationship.

They are expected to make a declaration on the fight against climate change, in which Rousseff must strengthen the commitment to reach "ambitious targets", but without setting numbers. They will also emphasize Brazil's main argument: the need to help the least developed countries to do their part.

Merkel wants to intensify the campaign in the emerging countries to avoid a failure at the climate conference (COP 21) schedule for December, in Paris.

Merkel and Rousseff had previously lined up their speech at a meeting in Brussels, in June, days after the G7 meeting in which the German Chancellor led the agreement between the main industrial nations on reducing the use of fossil fuels by the end of this century.

Major financial settlements are not expected for this meeting between the two leaders. The memorandum of understanding that will be signed include urban mobility and environmental aid from Germany; projects worth $ 144.2 million (R$ 500 million), a modest amount compared to the businesses of the two countries.

Translated by JULIANA CALDERARI

Read the article in the original language

Odd Andersen/AFP
Merkel greets colleagues as she arrives for a meeting of the parliamentarian group of the CDU party at the parliament in Berlin
Merkel greets colleagues as she arrives for a meeting of the parliamentarian group of the CDU party at the parliament in Berlin

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