Opinion: a summit of Brics without straw
“If you’re an emerging market and there’s a geoeconomic grouping you’re looking for, you’ve got a few to choose from. In Asia there is Asean - ten countries in search of common ground. In Latin America there is Mercosur - five countries in search of common tariffs. And from the Atlantic west to the Black Sea there is Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation – four adjectives in search of a noun…”
Source: Financial Times
“The unipolar moment in international relations is over. The new world order will be neither bipolar — the United States and China — nor multipolar, but a multiplex.
A multiplex world is like a multiplex cinema. American political scientist Joseph Nye describes the current international system as a three-dimensional chessboard. The top layer is military power which is still unipolar. The middle is a multipolar economic layer with the likes of the European Union, China and the other BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa. The bottom layer consists of transnational non-state actors operating largely outside of government control…
…A multiplex world would has multiple layers of authority and leadership. Especially important are the role of regions, regional powers and regional institutions. This does not mean a return to 19th-century type of European regional blocs, as the defenders of U.S. hegemony fear.
Much of regionalism today is “open” regionalism, as in Asia, and inter-regionalism as with the EU’s global reach. It is less territorially based and encompasses an ever widening range of actors and issues. As Hillary Clinton put it while U.S. secretary of state, “Few, if any, of today’s challenges can be understood or solved without working through a regional context.” To make a multiplex world more stable, regional organizations should be given more resources and authority while remaining within the framework of UN-led universalism…”
Source: Huffington Post
“Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (the so-called Brics) are to establish alternatives to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which they find too biased towards Europe and the US.
The “New Development Bank” to rival the World Bank will be launched at a Brics summit in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza next week, with all agreed except where to put the main headquarters, Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov said Wednesday (9 July).
The two options currently being considered are Shanghai or New Delhi, Siluanov said. Russia didn’t push to get the bank in Moscow, but will seek management posts instead, he said.
The project will see each of the Brics contribute €1.4 billion to the bank’s funds over the next seven years, with the bank’s maximum capital set at €73 billion. The bank will fund mainly infrastructure projects.
Other countries that want to join will be able to do so once the new bank opens for lending, in 2016, the minister added…”
Source: EU Observer
“Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, has said that Italy will push for a “United States of Europe” during its six-month EU presidency, in a move likely to raise hackles in Britain.
Launching an appeal to convince European leaders to show “that a stronger and more cohesive Europe is the only solution to the solve the problems of our time”, Mr Renzi said: “For my children’s future I dream, think and work for the United States of Europe.”
He further called for “courageous leaders” to work towards achieving that goal – something that Britain has always objected to. In 1988 Margaret Thatcher, then prime minister, dismissed the idea that the United States might be a model for the future of Europe and David Cameron is actively trying to prevent the election of a committed federalist, Jean-Claude Juncker, to the head of the European Commission…”
“…As they convene, the new members of the European parliament will not only begin to address the challenges of governing Europe and growing its economy; they will also examine their relationship with Africa. A number of issues pertaining to the EU’s relationship with Africa–including trade, openness and the Economic Partnership Agreement, immigration, development assistance and peacekeeping–will be under scrutiny. African leaders and their populations are watching to see how these important issues are addressed…
…In addition to development assistance, Africa relies heavily on the EU for peacekeeping. Currently there are over four EU peacekeeping missions on the continent in the Central African Republic (CAR), Mali, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Libya and Egypt, some support is also being provided. In addition, the French took the lead in organizing the international community to restore stability during the recent crises in the CAR, Mali and Libya. With a new EU parliament likely to focus on internal issues, there are now legitimate concerns among African leaders that this assistance could decrease.
African leaders will have to wait to see what the new members of the European Parliament hold for the future of collaboration with Africa. In the meantime, a number of lessons from regional integration in Europe are evident and could help to bolster efforts at regional integration throughout Africa…”
Source: All Africa
“Africa is making progress towards a regional military force by the end of next year, a senior African Union official said on Wednesday, as local leaders urged less reliance on foreign intervention.
Delays in implementing the African Standby Force (ASF) forced African states to request French intervention to tackle crises last year in Mali and Central African Republic.
African officials have voiced scepticism that the 5,000-strong force, under discussion for more than a decade, would be ready by next year’s delayed deadline, prompting African leaders to approve a stop-gap rapid reaction force last year.
Smail Chergui, the 54-nation African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security, said four of the five regional brigades due to make up the Standby Force were in an advanced state of readiness, including the North African one.
At a a meeting to mark the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Peace and Security Council, he said “progress is being made to have (the Standby Force) fully operationalised by December 2015…
…More than 90 percent of the AU’s peace and security efforts, including its AMISOM mission in Somalia, are funded by external actors such as the European Union and United States.“