Increased deforestation in the Amazon is the outcome of Brazil’s long political crisis. What started in 2013 with a bus fare hike has traversed through contestable impeachment and populist uprising into a constitutional stalemate.

European institutional investors have been in the vanguard of checking Brasília’s lax approach to deforestation and other environmental challenges. While investors continue to carry a big stick, European and US political leadership should consider what carrots they can offer Brasília.

Brussels and Washington have changed course rapidly from an approach that emphasised closer ties with Brasília to one of dissatisfaction and distancing. This is both a cause and an effect of Brazil’s international standing diminishing both in terms of economy and country brand.

In recent years, Brazil has simultaneously tried to raze more rainforest and build North Atlantic trading relations; the two cannot be done at the same time.

A politics of rapprochement with Brazil requires much closer coordination between Europe and the United States than the parties are accustomed to; a commitment to a climate-sensitive globalisation is necessary from Brasília.

The Briefing Paper is also available in Portuguese here.

Non-Resident Fellow