BRASILIA – Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo will be on a tour of Europe this week that will take him to Italy, Hungary and Poland with the goal of expanding trade, especially sales of defense products, officials said on Monday.
Araujo will also make a brief stopover at the Vatican, where he will meet with Holy See Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Government spokesmen said the main goal of Araujo’s visit was to promote Brazil’s defense industry among members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which is targeting military spending equivalent to 2 percent of members’ overall budgets by 2024.
Araujo plans to discuss the KC 390 transport plane developed jointly by the Brazilian air force and aviation giant Embraer, an aircraft designed to compete with the US-made C-130 Hercules, while in Europe, officials said.
The foreign minister will also discuss investment opportunities in Brazil via the privatizations planned by the government to generate revenue and attract foreign investors.
This will be Araujo’s first trip to Europe and officials consulted by EFE acknowledged that Italy, Hungary and Poland were likely selected as destinations due to their “ideological affinity” with far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration.
On Tuesday, Araujo is scheduled to meet with Italian Foreign Ministry officials and business leaders with operations in Brazil.
Araujo will meet with Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Brazil’s top diplomat will meet with members of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government in Budapest.
Araujo will wrap up his European tour on Friday in Warsaw, where he is scheduled to meet with members of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s Cabinet.
The officials consulted by EFE said Araujo’s trip would also pave the way for visits to the three countries by Bolsonaro in the second half of this year.