September 18, 2008
The Netherlands held fast to its opposition Monday 15th to closer ties between the European Union and Serbia blocking of the implementation of the Temporary Agreement. Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said his country would continue to block a pre-membership accord with Serbia until it had met the Netherlands’ definition of “full cooperation” with the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. However Serbia – and maybe Macedonia too – can have an attractive alternative to alliance with stagnated EU or to strategic short-sightedness of Washington. Good future could be with BRIC.
BRIC is an acronym for the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China combined. The general consensus is that the term was first prominently used in a Goldman Sachs (investment bank) report from 2003, which speculated that by 2050 these four economies would be wealthier than most of the current major economic powers. The BRIC thesis posits that China and India will become the world’s dominant suppliers of manufactured goods and services, respectively, while Brazil and Russia will become similarly dominant as suppliers of raw materials. It’s important to note that the Goldman Sachs thesis isn’t that these countries are a political alliance (like the European Union) or a formal trading association – but they have the potential to form a powerful economic bloc.
Investing in the BRIC economies has been on the rise as increased economic globalization creates higher levels of world trade and commerce. Brazil, Russia, India and China have had strong growth in gross domestic product (GDP) over the past few decades, with recent rates much higher than those found in the United States and the Eurozone.
There are strong indications that the “four BRIC countries have been seeking to form a political club” or “alliance”, and thereby converting “their growing economic power into greater geopolitical clout”. One of the recent indications was from a BRIC Summit meeting in 2008, in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
Serbia’s road towards its full European integration is likely to remain filled with considerable roadblocks. Now it is ICTY cooperation but big question will if Serbia is going to EU with or without Kosovo. Other obstacles can occur on the way. In any case EU is not miraculous power which brings economic and other development with membership status immediately.
While Serbia should not close the door to the EU it could parallel with the idea of a European prospective search a couple of other alternatives.
Looking strategic alliance with BRIC countries is realistic having in mind that none of them has recognized Kosovo’s independence. Therefore at political level cooperation with BRIC has better base than starting cooperation with countries that first bombed Serbia and after against agreements and international law are trying to amputate one part away from it.
Besides increasing cooperation with BRIC Serbia can develop her society from individual needs and priorities – not because of EU. Capacity building for better administration, removing obstacles and bottlenecks of SMEs, increasing transparency of public affairs, development rule & law sectors and democratic processes – all can be done without EU guidance.
One direction to concentrate is Serb Diaspora which only in North America is size about 2.5 million while it is in German speaking Europe about 1.1 million. This Diaspora creates a great opportunity to wide markets in these regions, they offer a considerable network and also a potential for “foreign” investments in Serbia.
World is much more than only European perspective, new potential can be found inside and outside of Serbia and West is only one of many directions.AriRusila's Conflicts