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Brics growth changes Brazil’s position in the group, experts assess

The inclusion of new members in the Brics, a bloc that currently comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, could change Brazil’s position in the group. This is the opinion of experts consulted by the CNN .

Professor of International Relations at IBMEC in Belo Horizonte Christopher Mendonça explains that “the broader the cooperation in terms of number of participants, the more important its members become due to their capacity for dialogue. This would give Brazil more opportunities”.

For Márcio Coimbra, coordinator of the postgraduate course in Institutional and Governmental Relations at Faculdade Presbiteriana Mackenzie Brasília, “the Brics are always wanting to grow and bring more countries to the bloc”. However, he ponders: “There is room for growth, but we have to see which way the Brics will grow.”

“A lot is being said about Saudi Arabia, about Indonesia. But first we have to see which way the Brics will grow. And this growth will, of course, lead to a lesser importance of Brazil within the bloc. Because it will dissolve the presence of medium-sized countries, like Brazil, within a bloc where you have two major powers, China and Russia”, comments Coimbra.

After meeting with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (PT) earlier this week, Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro expressed his country’s interest in joining the BRICS group.

Maduro cites that the bloc represents the construction of a new world geopolitics. For him, the five countries are becoming a “magnet” that seeks a world of cooperation and peace.

“We aspire, yes. We want to be part of the Brics. And to accompany the construction of this new world geopolitics”, said the Venezuelan president

Lula, in turn, said that he will support the entry of his South American neighbor into the bloc. “I’m still going to participate in the first Brics meeting after eight years. There are proposals from other countries that want to enter, and we are going to discuss it, because it depends on everyone’s will. If you have an official order [da Venezuela], will be taken to the BRICS. If you ask my will, I am in favor, ”she said.

Christopher Mendonça expresses that if Venezuela’s inclusion in the bloc is accepted, there are chances that other medium-sized economies will join it.

“Countries like Argentina, Mexico, Chile and Colombia, as well as other countries in Africa and Asia, can find space to develop new partnerships beyond their regions. I believe that expanding the Brics is just the beginning of a new phase”, exemplifies Mendonça.

The Brics Bank and the role of Brazil

The New Development Bank (NBD), known as Banco do Brics, has Dilma Rousseff, former president of Brazil, as its leader since April.

On May 30, during the opening ceremony of the bank’s annual meeting, Dilma declared that “the expansion in the number of bank members will strengthen our capital base”.

Government sources tell the CNN that the president is preparing the ground to try to integrate Argentina into the BRICS Bank in the future. Adhesion would be a prerogative for the neighboring country to gain access to financing made by the NBD, which are restricted to its members.

Founded in 2014, the entity initially brought together only Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. In 2021, Bangladesh, UAE and Egypt were added as members. Uruguay’s accession was also approved and should be formalized soon.

Even with the leadership of a former head of the Brazilian Executive, educators do not observe a leading role in the country in front of the bloc.

“Although he appointed the president of the Banco do Brics, Brazilians still contemplate a leadership like the Chinese one due to the magnitude of the country’s economy. Aware of China’s great market capacity, President Lula was recently on an official visit to the country with the aim of strengthening ties and making new partnerships possible. China is the country of the round”, exemplifies Christopher Mendonça.

The assessment goes along the same lines as Márcio Coimbra. “Brazil is not being a protagonist of the bloc. The protagonists of the bloc are clearly China and Russia. They are the two countries that control the Brics politically and economically. Brazil is still a minor partner, but geopolitically important too, not negligible.”

Importance of Brics and Russia

According to experts, the Brics have been increasing their importance in world geopolitics, mainly due to the economic situation in the United States and due to the war in Ukraine. However, it is observed that the last factor can harm your image.

“Yes, the bloc has been increasing its importance in world geopolitics, but it is also suffering setbacks. So, in fact, we can say that he is in the same place. Why? The issue of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has left the Brics in a much more difficult situation than it was previously. So, the advances made for countries like Brazil and India are overshadowed by other countries like, for example, Russia and China”, reports Márcio Coimbra.

According to Mendonça, “during the last five years, due to specific conjunctures, the bloc has not remained at the center of international discussions, but signals that it intends to be an alternative forum to the existing ones, mainly for including emerging economies in its structure”.

However, the rise of Brics can benefit the Russians, according to the professors.

“Russia can benefit from the increase in the power of the Brics as a result of raising support from China, South Africa, Brazil and India in relation to the war in Ukraine and this has really happened”, says Coimbra.

“India has been buying cheaper oil from Russia and has been refining that oil and reselling it to the European Union. This has been one of the great recent scandals that the European Union is facing and it tends to stop importing oil from India, because the country is making a triangulation with Russia. China has also been buying cheaper oil from Russia. Brazil with the issue of fertilizers. South Africa reduced international impositions and is receiving Putin for the BRICS Summit”, he continued.

The Brics have indeed been an important instrument for Russia not to be completely excluded from the International Community.

Márcio Coimbra

Mendonça cites the sanctions that Russia faces, such as those from the United States and European countries, and that the expansion of the bloc gives it more possibilities.

“With the rise of the Brics, Russia is expanding its negotiation spectrum. Many countries in the West have applied sanctions to Russians for their role in the war. With the expansion of the Brics, there would be greater possibilities for trade with partners who were open to this. Certainly, the expansion of the bloc favors Russia a lot”, he concludes.

*With information from Priscila Yazbek

Source: CNN Brasil

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