BRASÍLIA In the first speech after taking office, Economy Minister Fernando Haddad signaled a strong resumption of the integration process of Mercosur and other South American countries. Haddad said it was a “relief” for the region to know that the countries will now be more united in President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s government.
According to the minister, Lula is “obsessed” with Mercosur. “The President has already done a lot for Mercosur and will do it again.” He criticized the performance of the National Development and Social Bank (BNDES) in financing exports to the bloc. According to him, BNDES, Brazil’s Eximbank, has been idly watching the drop in sales of finished products.
The greater integration of the countries in the region is one of the issues close to the heart of the new minister. Along with the Treasury Department’s new executive secretary, Gabriel Galípolo, Haddad wrote an article defending the creation of a single currency for the countries of South America. Initiative to accelerate regional integration strengthens the monetary sovereignty of the continent’s countries.
The President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, attended Lula’s inauguration and was scheduled to meet with Lula tomorrow in the presence of Haddad. The minister confirmed that he would accompany Lula on the trip to Argentina planned for January.
At the inauguration ceremony, Haddad was one of the new ministers most welcomed by the guests, but he avoided commenting on the Brazilian press. The excuse he advanced was not to “take the shine off” Lula’s inauguration.
Haddad only spoke about Mercosur at the request of an Argentine reporter, who interrupted a photo session the minister was doing on the palace ramp after the ceremony with family and friends, including lawyer Marco Aurélio Carvalho, coordinator of the prerogativas group he founded Friends in the 2014 to discuss the progress of Operation Lava Jato, where Lula was one of their main targets.