Bolsonaro peeved by Macron and Lula catch-up in Paris

Lula and Macron in Paris. Photo: Ricardo Stuckert/IL
Lula and Macron in Paris. Photo: Ricardo Stuckert/IL

President Jair Bolsonaro expressed his outrage on Thursday about French President Emmanuel Macron’s meeting with former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at the Elysée Palace in Paris last week, after Mr. Macron gave Lula honors usually befitting a current head of state. Mr. Bolsonaro said the French president was “taunting” him.

“Mr. Macron has always been against us, always feuding with us about the Amazon,” Mr. Bolsonaro said. “As if he or his forefathers had preserved [the environment] in France.” The Brazilian president added that his French counterpart is closer to Lula because he wants a “passive, corrupt” leader in Brazil.

Messrs. Bolsonaro and Macron have hardly ever been on good terms. France has led the opposition to the free-trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur — the trade alliance between Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. 

The official motivation for their reluctance to confirm the deal is environmental concerns, but the Brazilian government believes Mr. Macron is actually simply trying to shield French agricultural producers from tough competition from South America.

The public trading of jabs between the two even included Brazilian government officials making comments on French First Lady Brigitte Macron’s physical appearance.