Most of the EU’s strategic partnerships include dialogues on development, and in some cases commitments to collaboration. This policy brief examines whether such dialogue and commitments are reflected in EU-strategic partner interaction on the ground in two developing countries – Nepal and Mozambique. In both countries, the space for EU engagement with strategic partners is highly limited and largely determined by strategic partners’ economic, security or political interests. The EU needs to enhance dialogue with its partners at capital level and EU delegations require support to adapt to the new context created by the presence of emerging powers and to use the strategic partnership framework to engage with them.
China has become a major international development player, but EU-China engagement on development remains weak. Profound differences in their conception of development cooperation and China’s desire to avoid association with traditional donors leave little room for significant collaboration. However, some complementarities in specific issues could be further explored, for example regarding fragile states, capacity building or environment. A priority for the EU should be to build a long-term dialogue with China on development that seeks to understand and engage with rather than reform Chinese development policy. The EU-China strategic partnership could offer a framework to facilitate such dialogue and build trust between these two giant development actors.
Over the last 40 years Brazil has pursued strategic partnerships with a wide range of countries. It has done so to gain access to capital and technology, foster regional and inter-regional cooperation, and advance its priorities on the international stage - in particular through multilateral bodies and coalitions. These partnerships will continue to be a valuable tool for Brasilia to manage the intersections of its bilateral and multilateral engagements, reform global governance and consolidate Brazil's profile as an increasingly important global actor.
The sixth BRICS Summit – bringing together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – was held in Fortaleza, Brazil from 14-16 July. The summit marked a step change in the level of ambition of that group, and carries important implications for the future of global economic governance. The summit highlighted East-West and North-South divisions in the emerging global order, and a desire to reshape the Western-dominated global financial system. It also showed the determination of the BRICS to set up alternative forums outside of existing multilateral mechanisms - if existing bodies are not reformed to reflect the growing economic clout and priorities of the BRICS.
The EU-South Africa strategic partnership reflects a shift away from their traditional donor-recipient relationship. As South Africa emerges as a donor in its own right, there is potential for greater EU-South Africa collaboration to promote development in Africa and at global level. South Africa and the EU share a common focus on Africa’s development and security, as well on poverty reduction and normative issues of human rights and governance. Such convergence offers potential for trilateral development cooperation, which has yet to be explored. However, South Africa's concerns about the impact of broader EU policies on African development and about EU commitments to shift aid away from middle income countries could be barriers to deeper engagement.
The EU-Brazil strategic partnership on international development has delivered little. Limited commitment and operational constraints have so far undermined high-level pledges to undertake trilateral cooperation. Brazil and the EU often hold different positions on the contested multilateral development agenda. However, there is scope for closer cooperation between the two partners on various issues including food security. In addition, their further engagement would greatly contribute to bridging the divide between traditional and emerging donors.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
FRIDE ceased its think tank activities on 31st December 2015 for economic reasons. The Board of Trustees had to take this difficult decision since, despite many efforts to diversify its funding sources, FRIDE cannot sustain its think tank operations with a view to 2016 and beyond.
Established in 1999, FRIDE has made a major contribution to shape debate on Europe’s external activities in an increasingly challenging international environment. It has covered issues ranging from democracy and human rights to sustainable development, new approaches to multilateral cooperation and security affairs. FRIDE’s long-standing focus on the extended neighbourhood of the European Union proves today all the more relevant given widespread turbulence in the region. FRIDE’s emphasis on the importance of the values framing Europe’s external activities is central to current political debates in Europe and beyond. This shows the need for continued engagement in the pursuit of a common European foreign policy that is both effective and informed by the core values of European integration.
The Board wishes to thank Diego Hidalgo, FRIDE’s founder, for his tireless commitment and very generous support for many years. The Board also wishes to thank FRIDE’s dedicated staff, the members of the Board and the Advisory Committee for their contribution in making FRIDE one of the top foreign policy think tanks in Europe. We are very grateful to all those who have supported FRIDE’s work and projects over the years and we thank the many partners from all parts of the world who have worked with FRIDE on joint initiatives. We hope that FRIDE’s extensive input to the debate on Europe in the world will continue to inform thinking and action at a very critical time for Europe’s future.
The President of the Board
FRIDE cesó sus actividades como think tank el 31 de diciembre de 2015 por razones económicas. El Patronato tuvo que adoptar esta difícil decisión dado que, a pesar de los intensos esfuerzos realizados para diversificar sus fuentes de financiación, FRIDE no puede sostener sus operaciones como think tank a partir de 2016.
Establecido en 1999, FRIDE ha realizado una gran contribución al debate sobre las actividades exteriores de Europa en un ambiente internacional cada vez más complejo. Ha trabajado en temas que van desde la democracia y los derechos humanos al desarrollo sostenible, los nuevos enfoques en la cooperación multilateral y las cuestiones de seguridad. La atención prestada por FRIDE a la vecindad extendida de la Unión Europea durante mucho tiempo prueba ser hoy aún más relevante debido a la turbulencia que azota a la región. El énfasis de FRIDE en la importancia de los valores que enmarcan las actividades exteriores europeas es central en los debates en Europa y más allá. Esto muestra la necesidad de un compromiso continuo con la búsqueda de una política exterior europea común que sea eficaz y esté basada en los principios fundamentales de la integración europea.
El Patronato desea agradecer a Diego Hidalgo, fundador de FRIDE, por su incansable compromiso y muy generoso apoyo a lo largo de tantos años. También quiere expresar su gratitud a la dedicada plantilla, a los propios miembros del Patronato y del Comité Asesor por sus contribuciones para hacer de FRIDE uno de los principales think tanks de Europa en cuestiones de política exterior. Estamos muy agradecidos con todos aquellos que han apoyado el trabajo y los proyectos de FRIDE a través de los años y también damos las gracias a los numerosos socios de todas partes del mundo que han colaborado con FRIDE en iniciativas conjuntas. Esperamos que las extensas aportaciones de FRIDE al debate sobre Europa en el mundo continuará informando el pensamiento y la acción en un momento muy crítico para el futuro de Europa.
El Presidente del Patronato