Barroso arrives in Brasilia amid Brazil-Spain migration row

( dpa )- European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso arrived Wednesday in Brasilia, amid a deportation war between Brazil and Spain and with Brazil upset at EU restrictions on Brazilian meat imports.

The Brazilian government, however, stressed that these problems won't prevent Brazil and the European Union from strengthening the process towards a strategic association that started last year.

The theme was set to be the main topic of discussions between Barroso and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

"Not so positive questions do not necessarily harm dialogue or the relationship," said Everton Vargas, politics undersecretary at the Brazilian foreign ministry.

"It is precisely a high-quality political dialogue that will allow us to overcome difficulties for meat exports or to get over EU reservations regarding biofuels," he added.

Vargas admitted that Brazil and the EU each have their own interests, but he noted that Brasilia will still try "to expand trade with the European Union and to intensify political relations with the Commission."

Barroso, who is Portuguese, was set to leave Brasilia for Rio de Janeiro later Wednesday. There, he was expected to deliver a lecture at the Brazilian Academy of Letters (ABL) on the cultural consequences of the escape of Prince Joao VI from Napoleon's troops in Portugal to Brazil 200 years ago.

This is Barroso's second visit to Brazil in two years. According to the Brazilian government, the EU is currently the South American country's main trade partner. Bilateral trade reached 67 billion dollars last year, including Brazilian exports for 40.42 billion dollars.

Tension erupted recently when Spanish border controllers barred entry to 452 Brazilians, saying they had not met the conditions for entry. Those barred entry reportedly included a sociologist going to a conference.

Brazil has retaliated by turning back around a dozen Spanish businessmen and tourists this month.

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