Executive summary – EU-Russia 2015 seminar

Nice, September 23-24, 2010 – Published on Europe 2020, Dec. 2, 2010.

During two days, French and Russian academics and experts met in the framework of the EU-Russia 2015 seminar on the topic « What can be the contribution of Franco-Russian relations to EU-Russia strategic partnership and the holding of a BRIC-EU meeting by 2015? » jointly organised by the Laboratoire Européen d’Anticipation Politique (LEAP), the Institute of European Studies of Moscow’s State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and the University of Nice/Sophia-Antipolis, in partnership with the Europe 2020 network, the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia and the network of Jean Monnet Chairs … //

… Russia-Euroland : A self-imposing strategic partnership:  

Little by little, despite institutional vagaries in this field, reality is leading the two players to de facto begin their strategic partnership. Thus, during the “Euro crisis” of Spring 2010 set to music by the City of London in particular, Moscow came to the rescue of the single European currency (as did Beijing for that matter) by recalling Russia’s confidence in Euroland and never ceasing its diversification out of the US dollar in favor of the Euro. Meanwhile France, Germany and Italy (the Euro heavyweights) have directly contributed to the rapid resumption of normal relations between Europeans and Russians after the Georgia crisis, while asserting their opposition to NATO’s objectives of future extensions to the East. On this point, if Washington seems surprised to discover that the question of European security now seems to concern Moscow more than Washington for an increasing number of Europeans, a simple re-reading of history schoolbooks would reveal that Washington’s disproportionate role in the affair is an historical interlude which is coming to an end, like many other things as well, at the time of this global crisis of historic proportions.

With NATO in complete disarray (defeat in Afghanistan in 2011 and major budget cuts now and to come), the issue of European defense will become increasingly similar to that of the security of the European continent, and for this reason take place by way of close cooperation between Russians and Europeans which can give birth to a treaty on European security between now and 2014. Euro-Russian cooperation in the fight against piracy already provides a good model of the potential for such a partnership in the fight against terrorism, wished to highlight participants.

But beyond the “traditional” Euro-Russian agenda (neighbourhood, defense, energy, science / technology cooperation, investments), the global systemic crisis increasingly imposes on the two global players – Russia and Euroland, a common agenda and timetable to facilitate a peaceful transformation of global governance. For these two “renewed” powers, it’s going to be a question of their own strategic interests in the short and medium term as well as their respective abilities to influence the world’s long term progress.

Russia-Euroland: Avoiding the emerging of a world of conflicting blocs:

Due to their respective historical experiences, the two regions share the aspiration for a balanced multi-polar world. Consequently do not want a Chinese hegemony to-be to replace the US hegemony which is breaking up. They want a reorganization of the global monetary system to prevent currency wars as well as the structural instability of the current system of floating exchange rates. Taking note of the lessons taught by the current monetary system, they do not want one national/regional currency to replace the US Dollar as standard-currency of the next international system. They are in favor of a deep restructuring of the governance of major international institutions (UN Security Council, IMF, World Bank …). Euroland is by nature adept at international relations operating in a network, without hierarchical powers; Russia has recently become adept at the same operational rationale as shown by its advocacy for BRIC country structuring.

Indeed, contrary to the dominant discourse in the European or US media, the participants wished to remind that the BRIC countries are more than a vague concept formulated by a Wall Street banker. In fact, since 2006 (the year of the first BRIC ministerial meeting) at the initiative of Vladimir Putin, Russia has been very proactive in bringing relations between these four powers (Brazil, Russia, India and China) to fruition. This has allowed the creation of cooperation mechanisms between the four countries on most major global issues including regular foreign ministers and finance ministers’ meetings (this BRIC network encourages, by example, the steady progress of trade in national currencies amongst the four countries to the detriment of the US dollar), monthly consultations of ambassadors to the United Nations, coordination of G20 positions and summits at Head of State level (Yekaterinburg in June 2009, Sao Paulo in April 2010). As Dmitry Medvedev recalled recently, for Moscow the BRIC network has officially become the second priority of foreign policy after the partnership with the EU. By simultaneously implementing this pro-BRIC and pro-Euro diplomacy, Russia appears as one of the great champions of a post-crisis world that is not composed of blocs in various conflicts with each other.

And this is also an aspect that joins Euroland’s basic objectives (like the EU’s): to avoid a world of conflicting blocs that would lead straight to the worst post-crisis scenario. Meanwhile, every quarter that goes by forces Euroland leaders to note that China, India, Russia and Brazil are key partners over almost all major global issues whilst, from the Middle East to Afghanistan via the Dollar, Washington seems incapable of solving the problems that are gathering on its table.

Russia-Euroland – China, WTO, neighbourhood: still some points of divergence? … (full long text).

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