This brief analyses what impact the five BRICS countries are likely to have in global politics in the years to come, and what future trajectory the grouping might take. The BRICS ‘club’ may or may not last – in its present or another formation – but its rise is a wake-up call for the EU to deepen its bilateral relations with individual BRICS and possibly reconsider its own position in the emerging system of global governance.
As the perfect storm that hit the EU a few years ago seems to be slowly dying out, the crisis management mode that prevailed then seems now also to have given way to a more reflective mood: a less uncertain present is encouraging greater focus on how to shape a less uncertain future. Various political and institutional initiatives across the Union indicate a growing interest in strategic thinking and analysing trends and factors that may affect Europe’s position in the years and decades to come.
It may therefore be useful to dig a bit deeper into the nature, practice and record of strategic foresight - as has emerged elsewhere, especially in the United States - and to assess its relevance for the Union. To do so, a preliminary distinction needs to be made between ‘foresight’ as an essentially predictive function, and ‘strategy’ as a mainly prescriptive one.