United Nations Lula and Biden improve the tone of their relationship with the launch of a "global initiative" for workers

Distanced on major issues of world politics, presidents Joe Biden and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva found common ground this Wednesday in New York: an aggressive proposal that they present as a "global initiative" to adapt the world of work to the challenges of the 21st century

United Nations Lula and Biden improve the tone of their relationship with the launch of a "global initiative" for workers

Distanced on major issues of world politics, presidents Joe Biden and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva found common ground this Wednesday in New York: an aggressive proposal that they present as a "global initiative" to adapt the world of work to the challenges of the 21st century.

"In the face of complex global challenges, from climate change to rising poverty levels and economic inequality, we must put workers at the center of our policy solutions. We must support workers and empower them to drive the innovation we need urgently to secure our future," said both presidents in a joint statement released before the bilateral meeting within the framework of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

"Today, the United States and Brazil announce the launch of our joint global initiative to elevate the central and critical role that workers play in a sustainable, democratic, equitable and peaceful world. We already share an understanding and commitment to addressing critical issues of inequality economic growth, safeguard workers' rights, address discrimination in all its forms and ensure a just transition to clean energy.

The Brazilian president jumped into politics from unionism in the metallurgical industry, and the American was always very close to the North American workers' centers. Biden and Lula will take this initiative to the G-7 and the G-20, the latter group that Brazil will chair as of January 1. That the White House and the Planalto Palace find common ground and work together is quite a fact in the context of a relationship that had become strained.

The United States government was key to confirming Lula's victory in the October 30, 2022 runoff, when Jair Bolsonaro gave signs that he would not recognize defeat. Along with France and other countries, he made Lula president-elect even before his victory was confirmed. That is partly why Lula's combative stance toward the United States and Europe in these first months of his third term was viewed with surprise and disappointment in American political circles.

Lula, 77 years old, is very critical of the central countries, which he accuses of being the biggest polluters of the planet and not fully assuming their responsibility, while demanding standards from developing countries that are impossible to meet.

The leader of the largest economy in Latin America is also critical of the management of Washington and Brussels in the face of the war in Ukraine. He maintains that continuing to send weapons to the Ukrainians shows that they do not want peace, reasoning that provoked the ire of Ukrainian President Volodomir Zelensky, with whom he was scheduled to meet later this Wednesday. Lula is seen by the Ukrainian leader as overly sympathetic to Russia and Vladimir Putin.

In this context, Zelensky stood down Lula in a bilateral meeting agreed upon at the G-7 held in Hiroshima this year. Looking ahead to the New York meeting, the Brazilian did not raise high expectations: "I am going to see Zelensky to talk about the problems he wants to discuss with me. There are no expectations with Zelensky. The expectation is that of a conversation between two presidents of two countries, each "one with his own problems, each with his own visions."