The EU, the U.S., and the BRICS countries

Venue: Four Point Sheraton Hotel, Rue Paul Spaak 15, Brussels
Organization: Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels
Contact: Roland Kulke

Participation by invitation only.

The existence of the acronym BRICS has caused remarkable attention since its invention by Jim O’Neill a Goldman Sachs employee in 2001. Whether with journalists, economists or politicians it clearly stimulates the imagination of policy makers around the world. The reasons are certainly diverse. The very fact that five states with a population of 3 billion people agree on an alliance cannot leave the established major powers indifferent. There are many good reasons to be skeptical about the potential of the BRICS states to develop into a full-fledged alliance. Even a short view on these states proves their strong heterogeneity, whether we look at the regulation of the economic system, the role of the state, or the question of democratic legitimacy of the role of social minorities. With all these arguments in mind we believe that the necessity still remains to study these new “middle powers” and to understand how far they can collectively work in the international sphere to change the international system in their favor.

To define the scope of our activities some of the most interesting questions are listed below:

1) What causes the large BRICS powers, including not only China and Russia but also Brazil and India to throw down the gauntlet to their competitors in the world (or at least show it). Why isn’t it enough for Brazil, China, India and South Africa to be part of the prominent G-20 group? The question gets even more relevant for Russia, as it is part of this club since 1998. China has built up itself a very interesting organization in its “geopolitical backyard”: the Shanghai Organization. Through this China is able to exert influence in a strategically important region. Both countries are also part of the highly exclusive security council of the UNO. So why is there a need for a new “sustainable bloc” (so the self description in the Indian BRICS webpage)?

2) It is of particular interest how the United States, the European Union and the neighboring countries of the BRICS states respond to this alliance and its activities. How is this alliance being perceived? Rather as a major challenge for the 21st Century in the struggle for another future economic, financial, and military dominance? Or are the BRICS perceived as an alliance of the marginalized underdogs?

3) And finally, we will investigate the question how the BRICS countries pursue the interests of their own countries. What are the plans, the interests of its elites, but also of its civil society regarding the idea of a BRICS alliance?

Our workshop in Brussels from the 28th February to 1st March 2013 (arrival date is the 27th February) is intended as a launch event for a project in which the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation offices in Brussels, New York and in the BRICS countries together with their partners, particularly from the scientific communities of the BRICS countries examine the economic and fiscal policy, the military and geopolitical impact of the rise of the BRICS states and their attempt to build a “sustainable bloc” in the world political arena.

See report of the event here.
Programm of the Workshop "The BRICS States – more than an empty slogan? What does the rising of the BRICS mean to the EU and the USA?"
Wednesday, 27 Feb. 2013

18:00-18:30 Welcome and introductory remarks by Klaus Sühl (Head of the office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Brussels)
The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and the relations between the BRICS states on the one side and the EU and the USA on the other side. Why we think that it is necessary to discuss these emerging new relationships

18:30 – 20:00 Introductory lecture by Michael Emerson (Associate Senior Research Fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Brussels)
“Why the Future belongs to the BRICS”

20:30 Uhr Group Dinner in the hotel

Thursday, 28 Feb. 2013

09:15-09:30 Mr. He Jun (Assistant Minister, International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee)
Chinese perspectives on the future of the BRICS and their relations to the EU and to the USA

09:30-10:30 Ricardo Gottschalk (UNCTAD, Unit on Economic Cooperation and Integration among Developing Countries)
“The perspective of the UNCATD on the BRICS phenomenon”

10:30-10:45 Coffee Break

10:45 – 11:45 First Panel Discussion with Benny Kuruvilla, Victor Trifonov, Pang Zhongying, Jorge Garzón, Lodwick Chizarura
What does the term BRICS mean to each of the different member states of this “sustainable bloc” (self description on the Indian BRICS webpage)?
followed by discussion

11:45-12:00 Coffee break

12:00- 14:00 Second Panel Discussion with John Neelsen, Milind Ranade, Helmut Scholz, Zhu Jiejin, Thomas Fatheuer
What are the fundamental shortcomings of the current international system? Do the BRICS answer these challenges; are the BRICS part of the right answer of these problems?
followed by discussion

14:00 – 15:00 Lunch break

15:00-17:30 Third Panel Discussion with Anna Ochkina, Lodwick Chizarura, Michael Krätke, Jörn-Carsten Gottwald, Nicola Bullard, Benny Kuruvilla
Which would be the structure of a fair international system which would make the BRICS unnecessary? How would an international system look like which would “sublate” the BRICS?
followed by discussion

19:00 Group Dinner in a Restaurant
Friday, 1st March 2013

09:30-10:30 The European External Action Service (EEAS), N.N.
On the strategic interests of the EU vis-à-vis the BRICS states and how the EU tries to use strategic diplomacy to achieve its own goals
followed by discussion

10:30-10:45 Coffee break

10:45 – 11:45 European Parliament, Helmut Scholz (Member of the Committee on International Trade, Substitute Member of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Substitute Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; delegations: member of the Delegation for relations with the United States, deputy member of the Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia)
The view of the European Parliament on the EU foreign policy towards the BRICS and how the rise of the BRICS will influence the room of the EU to maneuver
followed by discussion

11:45-12:00 Coffee break

12:00-13:00 USA, Michael Krätke, How do the United States deal with the BRICS, and how do the USA react diplomatically to the rise of the BRICS? Do the USA use a “divide and conquer” strategy, or do they perceive the BRICS as a groups which can help the USA to achieve own goals in the international arena?
Followed by discussion

13:00 – 14:30 Lunch break

14:30 – 16:30 Fourth Panel Discussion with Victor Trifonov, Mariana Carpes, Jiang Shixue, Heather Taylor, Pang Zhongying
Are the BRICS a challenge for the EU & the USA? How does the relationship of the BRICS towards the EU & the USA look like?
followed by discussion

16:30-16:45 Coffee break

16:45-18:00 Final Fifth Panel: Summary of the two-day discussion with: Milind Ranade, Zhu Jiejin, Michael Emerson, Anna Ochkina, Jörn-Carsten Gottwald, Thomas Fatheuer
Is there a future for the BRICS „bloc“?
followed by discussion

19:30 Group Dinner in a Restaurant

Bullard, Nicola (researcher with Focus on the Global South)
Bussemer, Johanna (Secretary for foreign affairs of Die Linke in the Bundestag)
Carpes, Mariana (PhD cand. GIGA Institute, Hamburg)
de Bellefroid, Ariane (Project manager at the Brussels based Think Tank The Madariaga – College of Europe Foundation)
Ehmsen, Stephanie (Head of Office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in New York)
Emerson, Michael (CEPS, Associate Senior Research Fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Brussels)
Fatheuer, Thomas (freelance consultant and author in Berlin, Expert on Brazil)
Garzón, Jorge (PhD cand. GIGA Institute, Hamburg)
Geitner, Margret (Secretary of the Working Group of the International Policy Group, Die Linke in the Bundestag)
Gottschalk, Ricardo (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD)
Gottwald , Jörn-Carsten (Professor University of Bonn, Department of East Asian Politics)
Hagemann, Norbert (Assistant to MEP Helmut Scholz in the European Parliament)
Hare, James P. (Project officer of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Ney York)
Jiang Shixue (Vice director of the Institute for European Studies of China Academy of Social Sciences, who is currently a visiting scholar at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, he is also Vice President of the China Association for the Study of Emerging Economies, Vice President of the Chinese Association of Latin American Studies, Deputy Director-General of the Center for Third World Studies, CASS)
Krätke, Florian (Research Assistant at European Centre for Development Policy Management)
Krätke, Michael (Professor for political economy at Lancaster University)
Kulke, Roland (Project Manager, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels)
Kuruvilla, Benny (ex-Focus on the Global South)
Lodwick Chizarura (SEATINI)
Nakath, Detlef (Director of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Brandenburg)
Neelsen, John (Professor University Tübingen, Institute of Sociology)
Ochkina, Anna (Institute for globalization and social movements (IGSO), Moscow)
Pang Zhongying (Professor of International Relations at School of International Studies, Renmin University of China in Beijing, Peoples University).
Ranade, Milind (Secretary at the NTUI , New Trade Union Initiative, India)
Scholz, Helmut (Member of the European Parliament: Helmut Scholz (Committees: Member Committee on International Trade, Alternate Member of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Substitute Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Delegations: Member of the Delegation for relations with the United States, Deputy Member of the Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia)
Shi Xiaohu (Acting Director of the Research Bureau, International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee)
Sühl, Klaus (Head of the office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels)
Taylor, Heather (PhD Candidate, Specialized in International Political Economy, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany)
Telkämper, Wilfried (Director of the Centre for International Dialogue and Cooperation, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Berlin)
Trifonov, Victor (Senior Researcher of The Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences)
Weber, Isabella (Project Manager, East and Southeast Asia in the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Berlin)
Zhu Jiejin (Director for the International Organization Research Centre, School of International and Diplomatic Affairs, Shanghai International Studies University)