Five years after the launch of the ‘BRIC’ acronym, Brazil, Russia, India and China in 2006 started a process of political dialogue, with South Africa being admitted as a new member in 2011 – leading to the transformation of ‘BRIC’ into ‘BRICS’. This study demonstrates that the BRICS countries are not acting systematically as a coherent bloc in the UN and other international forums. However, their coordination within the BRICS framework as well as within other forums such as the G20 have an impact upon international negotiations – leading to negative effects for the EU’s ability to pursue its interests. This also points to the major failure of the EU’s ’strategic partnerships‘ with the individual BRICS countries. The strategic partnership concept has been mainly important in rhetorical terms. The EU has not been able to use these partnerships to substantially upgrade its relations with the BRICS countries or to prepare itself to the shifting balance of power to the South and the Asian-Pacific region. This study presents several options for the EU to further develop the strategic partnerships and with policy recommendations to engage more actively with new and emerging powers.
Authors: researchers from the University of Leuven, Belgium and the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Helsinki