GIGA Focus International Edition English

EU Relations with "Emerging" Strategic Partners: Brazil, India and South Africa

GIGA Focus | International Edition English | Number 04 |

In her speech on the BRICS and other emerging powers on 1 February 2012, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Lady Catherine Ashton, stated that the EU needs "to invest in these countries as strategic partners in a very strong and dynamic, bilateral relationship [...] We need to do that because it is in our interest to do it."

Analysis

  • The EU’s strategic partnerships have been established in an uncoordinated manner; however, this has not been accidental. All of the EU’s "emerging" strategic partners carry economic weight, but even more importantly, they have political weight and (potentially) important regional and/or global roles to play.

  • Consequently, they are essential partners for shaping a globalized, interdependent and multipolar world confronted with key challenges and with a need for international cooperation and global governance. They are truly "formative powers" in that they have enough influence to shape the present and coming world order. These countries are essential partners for the EU in terms of its goals of building "effective multilateralism" and of raising its own international profile.

  • While the EU was initially keen to establish strong links between its bilateral and biregional strategic partnerships, since mid-2010 the official statements have put a stronger focus on working with bilateral partners more independently from biregional relations.

  • The "emerging" strategic partners have an interest in being officially "selected” by the EU, a traditional or “established" (extraregional) power. Being recognized and acknowledged as important players in regional as well as global terms serves their international and regional power profile as well as their status within the international hierarchy.

  • Strategic partnerships generally are and will be an important foreign policy tool in a multipolar world. They are part of the strategy of cooperating while competing.

Related Research at the GIGA

Suggested Citation Style

Hess, Natalie M. (2012), EU Relations with "Emerging" Strategic Partners: Brazil, India and South Africa, GIGA Focus International Edition English, 04, urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-310526

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General Editor GIGA Focus Series: Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach