Sarko Goes to Rio

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy is in Brazil, where he and European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso are being welcomed by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for the two-day EU-Brazil summit.

As I mentioned on Sunday, there are many summits held in Latin America throughout the year, but this one is remarkable for being Sarko's last summit as head of the EU, and also because of the proposed French technology transfer to help build South America's first nuclear propelled submarine. As the BBC reported,

With Brazil making extensive oil finds off its coast, the government here is becoming increasingly preoccupied with defending the country's coastal waters.
Last week Brazil set out a new defense plan to protect the Amazon, and the country's new oil reserves. Last February France had agreed to transfer technology so Brazil could build an attack submarine, helicopters and a French Rafale fighter plane. A previous proposal for sale of Russian fighter jets to Brazil was turned down by the Brazilians since it didn't involve technology transfer.

While Lula lobbies the EU for an end to ethanol tarifs, and seeks a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, the press is abuzz over Carla Bruni.

Ms. Bruni's visit to the Instituto Fernades de Figueira's Milk Bank, which provides malnourished newborns with breast milk that has been pasteurized and sterilized, and her scheduled visits to the Pavao-Pavaozinho favela and the Crianca Esperanca charity are headline news. The local media is not happy that only a few reporters and photographers have access to these. There's a lot of local interest on her since she's also scheduled a visit with her natural father, Italian businessman and Rio resident Maurizio Rommert, whose existence she discovered in 1996.

Bruni, who was named world ambassador for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on December 1, was described by O Globo as "Sarkozi's lethal weapon."

Other Latin American media reporting on the visit include Noticias24, which didn't miss the opportunity to photograph sunbathers at Copacabana beach who were surprised to find a frigate on security detail across from the hotel where the Sarkozys are staying.


In more serious news related to the EU-Brazil summit, Sarko and Lula, today agreed take a common EU-Brazil position to the next G20 summit dealing with the global financial crisis.

Fausta Wertz also blogs at

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