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Home / Analyses @en / BRICS 2009-2014: Five years of lost opportunities for Europe …

BRICS 2009-2014: Five years of lost opportunities for Europe …

When the BRIC launched their own club in 2009[1], their goal was pretty simple: to provide a group strong enough to initiate and drive the reform of the global governance institutions. This dynamic alliance intended to pursue their adjustment to the new realities of a multi-polar world in which they were the main actors : to reconcile voting weight and financial participation in the IMF[2] and the World Bank, to integrate the  constraints of the new powers in this WTO[3] “philosophy” and to involve the dollar in a basket of currencies of significant world economies in order to create a new international trading currency, a stronger and more representative[4] one…

This train of thought was not meant to fundamentally challenge the previous “American” system. They were recognizing its pre-existence and were proposing to complete it in order to make it viable according to the characteristics of the 21st century world. The BRICS project should have been perceived as a rejuvenation of the previous system[5].

Five years later the BRICS admit their failure on their collaborative proposals. Despite its Brazilian president, the WTO is currently unable to “civilize” the globalization process largely responsible for the global socio-economic imbalances[6]. The political paralysis prevents the U.S. Congress from voting for changes concerning U.S. voting weights within the IMF[7]. A reform of the international monetary system depending on the United States seems totally impossible[8]

Yet, that`s not all. The United States moved away from the international institutions which they were no longer able to control as they had in the past and have set up an “international” system for the entire planet which is seen as an extension of their national way of functioning, based mostly on the following: the negotiation of the free trade zones on their terms, instead of making their own contribution to the effort of globalization which was now developing beyond their own purpose, and the application of their sanctions logic to everyone, whereas the penalty was, of course, according to U.S. law for all offenders, etc …

In the same spirit, the relationships between the U.S. and the BRICS have turned sour: Europe and the United States continue their territorial violence, nibbling on the Russian sphere of influence, with the consequences that we already know, especially the creation of a Russian-Chinese axis, a powerful configuration for the BRICS; Obama implements a “containment” policy for China as an Asian “pivot”[9]; India decides to diplomatically move away from the United States[10]

In such a context where powers of the past decline in the future, the BRICS have no other choice but to create from scratch their own system, and the banking and monetary institutions determined last week in Fortaleza (BR) obviously represent the first operational steps[11].

The Westerners are free to consider these attacks as targeting them. Yet, the truth is as follows: the Westerners had the opportunity to host the BRICS in their club and could have therefore adapted it to the new economic and geo-political realities; that way, they would have remained influential players in the world of tomorrow. A different system is set up now, the BRICS system, the only one of the existing two systems with promise for any possible 21st century future (with flexible structures, modern operating mode using modern networks, characterized by multi-polarity, fairness[12] and respect of the diversity, etc …. ) Yet, the Westerners are not the founders of this system.

Therefore, the only choice left for them is the growing confrontation leading the world toward a bi-polarization, as is so evident now (the Western bloc against the rest of the world). Another possibility would be to integrate the new system, under the BRICS`s conditions now, of course.

The Occident has already lost the wonderful opportunity that was given to it in 2009, that of participating constructively in the organization of the 21st Century world. There will be some other occasions, but there’s no doubt that the role assigned to the powers of the past will decrease.

That is the reason why we keep saying this[13]: if Europe fails to save a suicidal West, it should really see as a vital interest engaging itself in a solid strategic alliance with the BRICS. The Ministries of Foreign Affairs should develop BRICS departments, the European heads of state should have BRICS advisors, the European research centers should open Euro-BRICS sections, and so on.

Yet, above all, the European states must arrange a Euro-BRICS Summit on the sidelines of the next planned BRICS Summit to be held early in 2015 in Russia. A UNASUR-BRICS[14] Summit was organized on the sidelines of the last BRICS Summit in South America. We must stop acting foolish! There are many possible signs[15] for the need of a Euro-BRICS Summit to be held on the sidelines of the next BRICS Summit in Russia! And such a summit depends on us and no one else.
There are still six months to act, at least… It is a lot of time from the logistical point of view, but is it long enough for a political decision to be made?

[1] First BRIC Summit, held 16 June 2009 in Iekaterinburg (Russia). Source: Wikipedia

[2] Source : The Economist, 06/06/2011

[3] For example : The BRICS Post, 04/12/2013

[4] Source: ZeroHedge, 13/10/2013

[6] « Wild » globalization contributed to the emergence of giga-economic players beyond any possible control, decoupled employees from consumers,… If globalization is an irresistible trend, its regulation can and must be the object of a globally concerted political work.

[7] Source : East Asia Forum, 29/01/2014

[8] In 2009, China particularly expressed its wish to take part in the creation of a new reserve currency. Four years later, in one of our Euro-BRICS seminars in Moscow, a representative of the PBOC explained to us that if that perspective was still the most desirable for China, the impossibility of controlling the process of creation was compelling them them to implement some plan B depending on them only. Thus the signature of swap agreements in Yuan with a view to the internationalisation of their currency  to serve as a pillar for a new monetary system. He also explained to us that the Euro could have played that role if it had been set free from dollar area, of which it in fact remains the last pillar…

[9] Source: Global Times, 25/11/2013

[10] Source: The Telegraph, 10/01/2014

[11] Source: Deutsche Welle, 16/07/2014

[12] Partity of voting rights despite disparity of contributions to the New Bank of Development, this being just an example.

[13] I’m referring here mostly to the Open Letter which we published in 2009 in the  international edition of the Financial Times, a few weeks before the Chinese, for a rethinking of the international monetary system … but also to our numerous calls in favor of a Euro-BRICS Summit  to be organized by 2015.

[14] Source : Buenos Aires Herald, 16/07/2014

[15] Ukrainian crisis, reconstruction of neighbouring relationships, reflection about  the interaction among regional economical unions, reconnection with the real global economical dynamics, transition imperative, and so on.