‘Euro-BRICS is a vision of the future’

- by Claire McConnell, Thomaz Talarico, Roman Printsev

Bypassing another milestone

Expectations were high in the run up to the First Euro-BRICS Strategic Planning Meeting in Paris. The meeting aimed to create a clear working apparatus of the project, defining methods through which the platform will promote its values. Beginning with a series of theory-based discussions regarding the concept of a ‘multipolar world’, participants determined a project proposal, in which plans regarding several key areas that the platform is projected to develop in the near future were outlined. The necessary decisions were taken regarding the appointment of administrators to each task area. The resulting appointments are outlined at the end of this document.

The week culminated on 30th April with the conference, ‘Bridging cooperation between European and BRICS countries’, hosted by the Indian Embassy in Paris. The Euro-BRICS Young Leaders’ Platform was received warmly and met with a high degree of interest. During the course of the conference, heads of delegations and the platform coordinator presented the main conclusions of the week’s discussions and workshops.

The conference was organised by LEAP (Laboratoire Européen d’Anticipation Politique), in collaboration with the Indian Embassy in Paris and was hosted by Mr. Manish Prabhat, Indian Deputy Ambassador to France.

 

BRICS and the European Union: cooperation possibilities

Mr. Manish Prabhat highlighted that BRICS economies are economies of young people.
“These five countries have the majority of world youth of productive age, that’s why it’s important for them to be involved in processes bringing fresh ideas”. He referenced Mr Kamath, President of the New Development Bank. Kamath, upon viewing how the landscape of the world financial situation has changed in recent years, found that 75% of the growth of world GDP since 2009 has been contributed by emerging markets. This indicates that cooperation between developing economies and developed economies is of great significance. Prabhat also presented the “Make in India” initiative that has been promoting India’s capabilities to potential overseas investors since 2014.

The Euro-BRICS Advisory board, represented by: Ms. Marie-Hélène Caillol, President of LEAP, Prof. Michael Kahn, University of Stellenbosch (SA), Prof. Irina Yarigina, Financial University of Moscow (RU) and Prof. Alexander Zhebit, Federal University of Rio (BR), delivered informative presentations and set the stage for the National Youth Representatives to provide practical information on the instrumentality of a Euro-BRICS ‘rapprochement’. Caillol recounted the history of the Euro-BRICS project from its creation, outlining her projected vision for the platform. “Six entities sitting around the same table would be a significant spearhead for sustainability on a global scale, and we suppose that many others will be interested to follow this enormous energy. That’s why we think this Euro-BRICS angle is instrumental”.

Speakers recalled the histories of a number of the Euro-BRICS nations, most notably referencing the Cold War period and the resulting emergence of a bipolar world. Also emphasised were financial intermediaries contributing to the Euro-BRICS platform and the Euro-BRICS relationship within the field of science and innovation.

Alexandra Kluczka, president of AEGEE-Europe in Brussels, preceded the national representatives from the Euro-BRICS Young Leaders’ Platform. In her inspiring speech, Kluczka praised the Euro-BRICS youth initiative and its ambitious goal to create something much more forward-looking than the current political arena. “That’s what young people should be doing – not only fitting into the schemes, but bringing the change, challenging the structures”. Kluczka also emphasised the parallel between Euro-BRICS and AEGEE, both of which aim to influence European decision-making.

 

Young Leaders take matters into their own hands

Roman Printsev, Coordinator of the Euro-BRICS Young Leaders’ Platform, introduced the public to the platform. “The Euro-BRICS Young Leaders’ Platform is a citizen-based network bringing together individuals and communities from the European Union and the BRICS nations. We aim to pave the way for an inclusive multipolar world through public diplomacy, political analysis, and cultural exchange. The Euro-BRICS Young Leaders’ Platform creates opportunities for international communication and cooperation, facilitates discussion, and provides policy recommendations on global issues such as governance, social development, sustainability and innovation”.

Indian representatives, Satya Pavan and Karthik Ponapa, identified (auto)manufacturing technologies and the renewable energy sector as key areas of development in India. The Indian Solar mission intends to build an energy-based economy, yet requires European assistance in terms of technology transfer, investment and expertise. “So I see a bridge between European countries and the BRICS nations, especially India and China, which are progressing towards a clean energy based economy”. Other examples of collaboration between India and the European Union include the auto-transport industry, the Internet of Things and urban analytics, with Spain proposing to aide in the development of Delhi into a ‘smart city’.

Diego Cimino represented the European delegation. The delegation consisted of German, Italian, Romanian, British, Irish, Portuguese, Estonian, French and Greek participants. Diego defined a new term – interdependence. “Multipolarity is not only desirable, but needed. Today’s nations are completely interconnected. We must move beyond a mindset of competition, arriving at a new reality of increased cooperation. Recognising that current decision-makers are not yet ready for this, we aim to target the youth in order to bridge this gap and achieve a truly multipolar world”.

Refugee cooperation, highlighting Brazil’s open door policy towards refugees and the ongoing discussions with Germany on a deal to provide asylum for thousands of refugees, was discussed by Brazilian representative Maiara Folly. Folly praised this initiative, suggesting that this experience could be shared on a larger scale.

Iulia Afanaseva noted that Russia, bordering the European Union on one side and China on another, represents a significant point of contact between Europe and Asia. Afanaseva discussed the importance of openness and tolerance within the platform, before proceeding to highlight the merit of inclusive local events in promoting our values. She concluded with the seven golden words of the Euro-BRICS Young Leaders’ Platform, agreed upon at last year’s Helsinki Summit: Multipolarity, Multiculturalism, Democracy, Sustainability, Modernity, Mobility and Innovation.

“BRICS and the European Union are two major forces of world peace, two markets of common development, two major cultures of human development” – Jim Qian recounted the words of Chinese leaders. Qian shared with the audience his personal feelings regarding the Strategic Planning week, feelings that were largely shared by representatives of all the delegations present. Initially it seemed impossible to unite the disparate views and opinions of so many different countries and cultures, yet over the course of the week we were able reach a consensus on the majority of issues. “We may have different cultural backgrounds, we may have hundreds or thousands of different feelings, but what is important is that we come together, we spend time together, we learn from one another, developing trust and an understanding that we have many common missions and interests. BRICS and the European Union seem to be very far apart geographically, however we can build an emotional closeness”.

South African delegate Raymond Matlala mentioned praised the platform’s drive and commitment to achieving its goals, despite still being in the early stages of development. South Africa represents the whole African continent, providing an example of where the multipolar separation of power may occur in the future.

 

Anticipating the future

Richard Carey, Former Director for Development Co-operation at the OECD, gave the concluding remarks. Providing a short historical analysis of the OECD, he emphasised how the thirty-four member countries work closely together, learning from one another. In short, the organisation is cooperational as opposed to confrontational. Carey closed the session with inspiring words for our young leaders, encouraging them to push for change within our political system and to establish intellectual and cultural interconnections. ‘The Euro-BRICS Young Leaders’ Platform’, Carey posits, ‘is nothing less than a vision of the future’.

 

Summary of the outcomes

  1. New definition, vision and mission.

  2. New method of internal communication.

  3. New external communication strategy.

  4. Aim to restructure the platform.

Newly elected national representatives: Diego Cimino for European Union and Satya Pavan for India.