The Council of the European Union (EU) released a joint statement today reviewing the major new initiatives discussed at the Fifth European Union-Brazil Summit held in Brussels. The significance of this summit is that Brazil is taking the lead in representing the 10-member MERCOSUR region of Latin America in negotiations to strengthen direct economic ties with the 27-member countries of the EU.  As part of these negotiations, Brazil is implementing a comprehensive strategic partnership with the EU for promoting trade and migration. 

From a global mobility perspective, the Brazil-EU Summit signals that the Brazilian economy is flexing its own economic might to negotiate more favorable movement of its nationals as well as those of other MERCOSUR-country nationals.

As part of its joint action plan, Brazil is promoting people-to-people exchanges with the EU. By negotiating as regional blocs, both Brazil and the EU may usher in a new standard of how countries will adopt new migration policies for member countries of each bloc.   For instance, one of the planned items is “to facilitate tourism flows between the EU and Brazil in the framework of the 50,000 tourists pilot initiative aimed at facilitating tourism flows between South America and Europe in the low seasons and to strengthen European identity, as well as the establishment of a dialogue on tourism-related matters.”

By creating stronger and more comprehensive policies on a regional bloc basis, this could avoid the burden of dealing with differing and individual bilateral agreements affecting the intra-regional mobility of personnel.  While definitive policy on movement of personnel has yet to be negotiated and established, as the conference pointed out, “migration, people-to-people contacts and consular issues are increasingly important in the context of globalization, given the large-scale movement of people from region to region.” 

Given this important conference between an emerging bloc of countries and an established regional bloc of countries, future migration/mobility policies may be dictated more at a regional level than on bilateral negotiations between individual countries.

Source:  V European Union – Brazil Summit Joint Statement Brussels, 4 October, 2011 | EU Press Release. Please see URL for original content. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/124878.pdf