In the wake of the 7th EU-Brazil summit held on 24 February, this Alert examines the EU-Brazil partnership at a critical juncture. Brazil’s future as an emerging power seems currently threatened by flagging economic performance and massive countrywide protests, leading the country to partially withdraw from its proactive foreign policy posture, while the EU’s own domestic concerns are overshadowed by troublesome events in its wider neighbourhood.
The transatlantic relationship has been and remains the cornerstone of the EU’s foreign and security policy. However, in a context where the US is increasingly looking towards Asia and is less willing to take a lead in international affairs, expectations on Europe have been raised. The impact of austerity measures on transatlantic defence budgets further highlights the necessity for Europe to take on more responsibility in international security.
As President Obama has stated: "We want strong allies. We are not looking to be patrons of Europe. We are looking to be partners of Europe". He spoke specifically of European defence capabilities, but his statement can also be applied to other areas of transatlantic cooperation. Indeed, EU-US security cooperation - particularly in the civilian aspects of peace-building and across the spectrum of the comprehensive approach - has increased over the past decade, and there is now a strong basis on which to build.
The rise of new global power centres has added a new dimension to transatlantic debates. Both partners must redefine the relationship to preserve security and prosperity but also to maintain influence in an emerging global system where the US - and the EU, as part of ‘the West’ - may no longer be the sole, or the dominant, player.
The EUISS pays particular attention to developments in US foreign policy and debates over strategy and burden-sharing in security and defence; but also to EU-US cooperation in foreign and security policy and to a broader transatlantic agenda that includes cyber and energy security and other emerging foreign policy challenges.
In light of the negotiations set to begin on a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Cuba, this alert – the first of its kind dealing with a country in Latin America – advocates the adoption of a new strategy towards the isolated island nation and highlights how, this time, there are good reasons to be hopeful of success.
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.
This alert examines the priority reforms identified by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in order ensure that the US military remains ready to counter the full range of future threats. With smaller budgets forcing European governments to make difficult choices, are there lessons to be drawn from Hagel’s observations?