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The agreement between Mercosur and the European Union brings together two important global players and covers a huge market of more than 780 million people and will bring about substantial benefits

Born in Rio de Janeiro she graduated in Linguistics (Portuguese and French) at the Pontifícal Catholic University in her hometown in 1973. She passed several specializations in diplomacy at the Rio Branco Institute (Diplomatic Academy) and began her career as a diplomat. She rose gradually by working at the United Nations Brazilian Mission, in New York (second secretary), at the embassy in Santiago (second and first secretary),at the General Secretariat for Foreign Policy, at the General Secretariat for Economic Affairs, at the Economic Institutions Department (head), at the embassies in Washington and at Montevideo as counsellor, etc. In 2004 she was appointed to the Embassy in London as a Minister counsellor, and since 2008 she has been Ambassador of Brazil to Nairobi.

She is the recipient of many Brazilian and foreign orders of merit.

In January 2016, she presented her credentials as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federative Republic of Brazil to the Republic of Bulgaria. She is also accredited ambassador to the Republic of Northern Macedonia. Now, at the end of her tenure in our country, this amazingly intelligent, initiative and tolerant woman shares her achievements and impressions with the readers of the Diplomatic Spectrum.

- Your Excellency, the independence of Brazil was declared on September 7, 1822. The Embassy of Brazil in Sofia is celebrating this national holiday in the upcoming days. What does this date mean for the Brazilian people? 

 - This year, the Brazilian National Day on September 7th commemorated the 197 years of Brazil's independence from the Kingdom of Portugal, with the establishment of a constitutional monarchy that was able to consolidate the unity and integrity of the country. Later Brazil became a fully functional Republic, which has remained the political system of the country. This peaceful historical process has enabled Brazil to become a fully democratic State; a major player in the regional and international political context; an important, solid and thriving global economy. The National Day triggers our profound sense of patriotism and respect for our historic heritage, those feelings are associated with the awareness that we have to uphold our sovereignty, protect the human rights of all citizens and promote their well being.

- The diplomatic relations between our two countries were established in 1961. How do you describe the current status of the bilateral relationship? You are completing your term as Ambassador of Brazil to Bulgaria by the end of September. What are the highlights during your 4-year tenure? 

- This year, Brazil and Bulgaria celebrate the 58th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Both countries have long cooperated on matters of common interests, such as sustainable development, human rights and international peace and security. During my 4-year tenure as Ambassador of Brazil to Bulgaria, we were able to agree on matters related to economic cooperation, social security and science and technology. Efforts were also made to increase bilateral trade and to identify opportunities for investment. We also organized a number of cultural events such as film festivals, music concerts, art exhibitions.

- What are the prospects for an improvement of bilateral trade with the entry into force of the agreement between Mercosur and the European Union? 

- This agreement brings together two important global players and covers a huge market of more than 780 million people and will bring about substantial benefits for both Mercosur and the European Union. The purpose of this agreement is to remove existing barriers and help companies from both groups to export more, strengthen workers' rights and ensure environmental protection, encourage companies to act responsibly and maintain high standards of food safety. The deal represents a victory for the EU and Mercosur, creating opportunities for growth and jobs for both sides. It has been proved through studies of the EC that the agreement reached will not harm the European agricultural sector. Regarding the alleged negative risks that this agreement could bring to the efforts of environmental protection, it is important to keep in mind that in recent decades, Brazil has developed the ability to reconcile agricultural production and sustainable development with preservation of nature and biodiversity, for the Brazilian Government remains fully committed to the defense of our environmental heritage.

- Brazil is also known for its natural wealth and biodiversity, in particular the Amazon rain forest. Can you describe Brazilian credentials in the area of sustainable development? 

- Brazil is the country with the largest area of environmental protection in the world: about 60% of our territory. The area of native vegetation in Brazil is larger than the territory of the seventh largest country in the globe, totaling 5,109,600.00 km2. Brazil is also home to the largest biodiversity on the planet: over 20% of the total number of species on Earth; Brazil has the largest biodiversity among the 17 megadiverse countries in the world. Our agriculture only covers around 30% of the territory, which is significantly below the average for countries with relevant agricultural production. 80% of our power grid is composed of renewable sources. And we are responsible for only around 2.5% of greenhouse gas emissions. In February 2019, Brazil became the first country to receive payments (totaling US$ 96 million) from the Green Climate Fund for environmental services of decreased deforestation.

- During your tenure as Ambassador of Brazil in Sofia, you promoted various cultural events and projects with great success. Please share with us the highlights your cultural diplomacy in Bulgaria. 

- We have sought to promote greater mutual knowledge, promoting the culture and the image of Brazil in Bulgaria, focusing on areas that are yet unexplored by Bulgarians but which hold great cultural richness, such as Brazilian classical music, and the exhibition of Brazilian film productions. In my four year tenure we held three annual editions of the Brazilian Film and Culture Week in this capital, and we participated in many other film festivals such as "Love is Folly" in Varna and CineLibri in Sofia. In the music field, our initiatives are favored by the good facilities in Sofia and the refined taste and cultural habits of the Bulgarian public. The presence in the country of Brazilian music students, as well as the academic and professional ties already established by Brazilian professionals, have offered opportunities for the diffusion of Brazilian classical music.

In collaboration with the Embassy, the New Symphony Orchestra (NSO) performed Bachianas # 4" by the Brazilia composer Heitor Villa Lobos, in their 2017/2018 season Opening Concert  in celebration of the 130th anniversary of the composer's birth.

This year we have organized, for the very first time, a Brazilian Classical Music Festival, which aims to present the richness and diversity of Brazilian classical music to Bulgarian musicians and local audiences. The first cycle took place in June and July in the cities of Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas, with great success. The second cycle is entirely planned for the city of Sofia, during the month of November, 2019.

- Bulgaria and Brazil also meet on sports, in particular in volleyball. Can you say that Brazil and Bulgaria are rivals in volleyball?

- Bulgaria has a tough and solid volleyball team, as we were able to witness on the recent match against Brazil in Varna. Fortunately for us, we managed a great come back and won the game and qualified for the Tokyo Olympics; it was a great example of healthy and fair competition. Although rivals on court, volleyball has a great potential for bringing both countries closer. Last year, Brazil played in the city of Russe, in the Men’s World Volleyball League. The Embassy organized activities in the city during the week our National team was playing, in partnership with the Regional History Museum. A great way to make the most of the sports rivalry and turn it into an opportunity to learn about each other.

- What are your impressions of our country and traditions? Do you have any favorite places you visit in your spare time and favorite activities?

- Bulgaria is a beautiful and fascinating country. The past 4 years have given me and my partner, Cristina, great joy. We will remember fondly the intense cultural life in Sofia, with its ballets, operas, art museums, exquisitely curated exhibitions, historical sites and parks with manicured flower beds sprawled around the city. 

We will however miss mostly the enthusiasm your youth and the ingenuity of the Bulgarian people. Cristina helped me a lot to enjoy your country;  through her eyes I have been able tosee the best and the most beautiful here;  through her heart I have learned to love and appreciate the Bulgarian people, for their generous hospitality, kindness and spirituality.

Photo: Embassy of the Federative Republic of Brazil