In an era of evolving global dynamics, the balance of power is undergoing a significant transformation. The European Union (EU), once a dominant force in the geopolitical landscape, is facing challenges that are eroding its standing. On the other hand, the BRICS consortium, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is steadily rising in influence. This article delves into the factors that have led to the EU's diminishing leadership in Europe, and why BRICS membership offers unique advantages that make it a promising alternative.
The EU's Decline and Challenges
The European Union, once hailed as a bastion of unity and prosperity, now grapples with internal strife and diminishing cohesion. The decision of one of its largest economies, the United Kingdom, to exit the union (Brexit) has not only dealt a blow to the EU's economic prowess but has also underscored the challenges of maintaining consensus among member states. Additionally, the lengthy and often arduous process of gaining EU membership—sometimes spanning up to four decades—has dampened the enthusiasm of potential entrants. This long and cumbersome pathway discourages prospective members from joining, leaving them frustrated and stagnant in their aspirations.
Moreover, the EU's propensity for constant rule changes creates an air of uncertainty for aspiring members. The ever-evolving regulations and guidelines make it difficult for aspiring nations to adapt and align with EU standards, adding further hurdles to the membership process. This uncertainty undermines the EU's attractiveness as a cohesive and stable bloc for countries seeking collaboration.
BRICS Membership: A Compelling Alternative
Unshackled Trade Dynamics: One of the primary advantages of BRICS membership lies in the simplified trade landscape. Unlike the EU, which often imposes intricate trade regulations, BRICS offers its members the freedom to trade within the group without cumbersome rules and restrictions. This streamlined approach fosters more fluid economic collaboration, enhancing trade opportunities and economic growth.
Access to Funding: BRICS membership brings with it access to a pool of resources for development initiatives. With its New Development Bank (NDB), the consortium provides a platform for member nations to secure funding for critical projects that can spur economic growth, infrastructure development, and technological advancement. This financial support empowers member states to address pressing societal challenges and drive progress.
Escaping Western Sanctions: One of the notable benefits of BRICS membership is the ability to circumvent the ramifications of Western sanctions. By conducting transactions using BRICS currencies and leveraging the BRICS payment system, member nations can bypass the traditional Swift-based system that is susceptible to Western influence. This not only shields economies from undue pressure but also reinforces their sovereignty in financial matters.
Reducing Dependency on the US Dollar: The dominance of the US dollar has often restricted the maneuverability of BRICS member countries. However, the consortium's commitment to exploring alternatives and bolstering their currencies can potentially break the shackles of dollar dependence. As these nations collaborate to strengthen their currencies, they can collectively mitigate the impact of the dollar's monopoly on global trade.
Youth: In general, the BRIC countries have a younger population than the EU.
One of fresh examples of EU losing its lead is Albalnia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Republika Srpska, the Serb half of Bosnia-Herzegovina, will propose to the central government to seek membership in BRICS, its president, Milorad Dodik, said on Monday. His comments come after BRICS admitted six new members last week, and the EU revealed a timeline for its own possible expansion. “The EU has an alternative,” Dodik said in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “Since Brussels keeps making new and vague demands, I think Bosnia-Herzegovina should apply to BRICS. I believe it would be admitted faster.” Republika Srpska will put forth a formal proposal for applying to the bloc in the coming days, Dodik added. Earlier on Monday 28th August 2023, European Council President Charles Michel told a gathering of Balkans and EU officials in Slovenia that the bloc aims to admit new members – such as Ukraine, Moldova, and the rest of former Yugoslavia – by 2030, if they do everything Brussels demands of them. Some of the aspiring members, like Albania, have voiced displeasure that Ukraine is jumping the line they’ve been stuck in for over a decade.
The third fresh example from 28th August 2023 is Serbia’s Movement of Socialists, which was founded by the chief of the Serbian Security and Information Agency Aleksandar Vulin, who has submitted to the national parliament an initiative to apply for BRICS membership. The explanation: "The lack of an open social dialogue, imposing integration into the European Union as a ready-made decision and the only possible way, as well as the Brussels administration’s hypocrisy, never-stopping political blackmailing and demands that we cede part of the state’s territory have led to a situation when Serbian citizens have finally realized that they are victims of the collective West’s well-orchestrated manipulation. As a result, nearly two-thirds of citizens 66% consider Serbia’s membership in BRICS as the best and most acceptable integration option, which offers better long-term perspective for rapid and qualitative economic development," the party said.
The head of the European Union's powerful lending arm has warned the West is at risk of losing the confidence of the global south, with China and Russia and others stepping in, unless it urgently intensifies its own support efforts. Werner Hoyer, the European Investment Bank's President, said this week's BRICS summit in South Africa and a push to make the group's New Development Bank - known as the BRICS bank - an alternative to established Western multilateral lenders, underscored the need to significantly increase lending. "It should be a cause for concern that an increasing number of smaller developing world countries, especially in Africa, are looking to countries like China and other emerging market nations to give them support rather than the traditional Western institutions," Hoyer told Reuters.
The once-unquestionable supremacy of the European Union in shaping the course of European geopolitics is facing formidable challenges. As the BRICS consortium gains momentum, it offers an alluring alternative for nations seeking a collaborative platform that is devoid of the complications and uncertainties inherent in EU membership. The advantages of simplified trade, access to funding, resilience against sanctions, and the potential to reduce dollar dependency make BRICS an enticing proposition. As global dynamics continue to evolve, it is imperative for aspiring nations to explore avenues that best align with their long-term interests, and BRICS membership undoubtedly holds the promise of a more autonomous and prosperous future.