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CGD Podcast: Why the EU Elections Matter with Charles Goerens, Udo Bullmann, and Emily Wigens

In June, citizens of all countries in the European Union will vote for their representatives in the next European Parliament, the EU’s legislative body. The results of these elections will have a major impact on the future direction of European development policy; in 2023, EU institutions spent nearly $27 billion on aid, and stood at the forefront of decisions on support for Ukraine, migration policy, climate action, partnerships with third countries, and more. 

On this episode of the CGD Podcast, I speak with several guests with close ties to the European Parliament who can offer insight on what’s to come. First, Emily Wigens, EU Director at the ONE Campaign, shares her thoughts on the role of the European Parliament in shaping the EU’s development policy, the shifting politics around development, and the challenges the next Parliament is likely to face. Then we hear directly from two current Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), Charles Goerens of Luxembourg and Udo Bullmann of Germany, on their experiences as members of the European Parliament’s development committee, as well as their expectations and priorities for the next five years, if re-elected.    

“Related to the pandemic and the climate crisis, we’ve seen a series of big global promises, commitments on everything from vaccine equity to climate mitigation and adaptation,” says Emily in the podcast. “But I think there’s a real urgency to convert these promises into action, and that's where the [next] Parliament can really help ensure that there is political pressure, political will to move towards implementation of these commitments."

 

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Hello and welcome to the CGD podcast. I'm Anita Käppeli, CGD’s director of policy outreach here. And I'm very excited to be hosting this special podcast ahead of the European elections in June. I'm joined today by Emily Wigens, The ONE Campaign's EU director, who will tell us more about the role of the European Parliament in shaping global development and her expectations for the five years ahead. For the second part of this podcast, I'm very happy to be joined by two heavyweights on European development policy, Charles Goerens and Udo Bullmann, two members of the European Parliament and both outspoken and long-standing members of the European Parliament's Development Committee. Emily let's start with you. You're serving as The ONE Campaign's EU director, have previously managed campaigns in several EU countries, and have worked at the European Parliament. I am delighted to have you here. Welcome.

EMILY WIGENS:
Thanks very much for the invitation. I'm really happy to join you today.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
The EU spent nearly 27 billion USD on aid in 2023, a huge amount. It's important to understand how the decisions shaping the EU's development policy are taken, especially ahead of the upcoming EU elections. Can you start by reminding us what exactly is the role of the European Parliament in shaping the EU's development policy?

EMILY WIGENS:
Thanks very much. So, I think the Parliament has a crucial role to play when it comes to shaping the EU's development impact through its committees. So, like the Development committee, for example, the parliament can scrutinise EU policy, but it also helps shape the EU's budgets and its global strategies. So, it can question the Commission. It can convene discussions with the different institutions to influence EU policy, both in formal and informal settings. And with the EU's main development assistance instrument, the Parliament has twice per year geopolitical dialogues with the Commissioner for International Partnerships and the High Representative Vice President of the European Commission. When it comes to shaping the EU budget—the EU has a long-term budget, that's a seven-year multiannual financial framework, and that is the big prize. That's a once-in-a-decade opportunity to set the EU institutions level of investment in development and climate action globally. The Parliament has a more limited role here, only giving its consent to what EU heads of state and governments agree.

But it has a much more powerful role on an equal footing with the member states when it comes to agreeing on the EU's annual budget. The Parliament also has an important role, I think, when it comes to agreeing on EU legislation. Some of which can have a very significant impact on partner countries.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
So, you've mentioned already a couple of these tools the European Parliament has. When we think specifically about the relationship between the EU and the countries in the Global South, we often think about summits, like EU-Africa summit, for instance, and there we think about the European heads of state, or the European Commission, be it the Commission president von der Leyen or Partnerships Commissioner Urpilainen. What specific tools does the European Parliament have in shaping the individual relationships that the EU has as a whole with partner countries in the Global South?

EMILY WIGENS:
So, there are a few ways that the Parliament can do that. I mean, it has parliamentary dialogues and hearings that committees can organise to inform their work, as well as the different delegations associated with different countries and regions that MEPs, or Members of the European Parliament, can participate in. They have regular meetings with parliaments in non-EU countries and visits that help maintain a dialogue, deepen relationships, exchange best practices, and explore what is needed to address common challenges.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
You already mentioned the European budget earlier, the MFF 2021 to 2027, where the EU allocated roughly 80 billion euros for cooperation with third countries. Back in February, the European heads of states decided to redeploy some of the funds for migration management and in support of Ukraine. What was your reaction?

EMILY WIGENS:
So that was obviously one, I think for me, one of the biggest letdowns of this past mandate. The Parliament is generally a big champion of international partnerships and development on global climate action. It is usually the most supportive and receptive of the EU institutions to calls to increase the EU's external budget. But as you say, the mid-term revision of the EU's long-term budget recently foresees a 2 billion euros cut to development programmes, whilst at the same time boosting migration-related spending. So, the parliament was initially an ally for calling for increases over and above what was on the table. But unfortunately, cuts proposed by the EU leaders were eventually endorsed by the parliament. I think it's always tricky because there are so many issues bundled together in these long-term budgets and this time there was much-needed funding for Ukraine that was part of the agreement. But given that the parliament had previously worked really hard to secure the EU's overall development budget for the current period, and managed to extract concessions from the member states when this long-term budget was agreed back in 2019-2020, it was a really big letdown that these cuts went through in the end.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
The European Parliament's Development Committee came out in favour of the position that you've taken, and other civil society organisations have taken against those cuts proposed by the heads of state. What does the European Parliament's Development Committee do exactly?

EMILY WIGENS:
So, the development committee, when it comes to the budget, it will have a really important influence over the 2025 budget, which is where we'll probably actually see the impacts of the cuts. That will be the first time that the European Commission will kind of show its hand and say, "OK we've taken note of the need to cut 2 billion, and here is how we're going to implement it." And so, the development committee can play a really important role in trying to navigate and reduce the impact of these cuts on certain parts of the budget. And the development committee has always been a real champion of these issues quite naturally, given its area of expertise. The Parliament as a whole has continued to be a great champion for development and climate action over the past five years. And as an institution, it's probably the most supportive and receptive to increase the external action budget. And particularly we do depend on allies and champions within the development committee, given their knowledge of the subject matter and expertise to really drive some of these issues through the parliamentary processes.

I think the development committee and the wider Parliament have played a really high impact role in advocating for equitable access to vaccines during the pandemic. I think this was a real highlight of the current mandate, where we saw members of the Parliament really emphasize the importance of solidarity and cooperation as an essential element to the EU's response. And so, we saw members of the European Parliament really using their positions to press for fair distribution, transparent procurement, and access to vaccine contracts, et cetera.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
You already mentioned kind of the big letdown in some of the highlights of the past legislative period. Looking ahead, obviously, the polls, they show that we can expect increased fragmentation of the European Parliament and potentially a shift to the right. What do you expect for the five years ahead?

EMILY WIGENS:
So, I think that's probably the biggest challenge that parliamentarians will have in the next five years, how to navigate that shift in power and influence away from the political center ground. So, I think that's going to mean it increases the necessity of them being able to build and create new alliances with different parliamentary groups, in order to maintain that kind of strong consensus on development issues that we've seen in previous mandates. But in addition to that, I think there's also a need for MEPs to look at what's happening in their own member states as well. In the first three months of this year alone, we've seen France, Germany, and now the EU institutions cut development funding. And these cuts, I think, are part of a quite worrying wider trend. When you look at the data for 2022, you can see that Africa's overall share of development assistance has fallen to less than any other time this century, even as overall ODA levels are at all-time high. And then, of course, in Europe, we also have this continued trend of large portions of member states budgets, he development assistance budget, that doesn't leave Europe, that’s spent at home on refugee costs.

So, I hope to see members of the European Parliament really using their role and position to challenge governments in their member states as well as the EU institutions. And really urging them not to sacrifice long-term development and climate action for short-term issues like migration control. I think these tradeoffs that member states are making at the moment are rather short-sighted. On the one hand, you have three quarters of African citizens living in countries that are in or at risk of debt distress. And whilst the continent is also experiencing a demographic boom that's going to add nearly 800 million people to the workforce by 2050. But then, on the other hand, then you have two continents that are vital partners for each other in the green transition and green industrialization—Africa has 60% of the world's solar potential, for example. So, I think we're at a point now where the decisions that Europeans make today will contribute to whether or not these opportunities or risks are what becomes the future.

So I think the major challenges for the new parliament to navigate is how to get Europe back on track when it comes to a win-win partnership with Africa, and the necessary resources to back that up.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
The win-win partnership is something that we at CGD often think about and work on, in particular with regards to Africa. In your perspective, what's the distinctive offer that the EU has with regards to its relationship to Africa as opposed to the relationship Africa has to other big partners?

EMILY WIGENS:
I think it's really important that any offer that Europe is making to the partners, Africa or otherwise, is really built on and rooted in trust. And I think that in part means delivering on past promises. And I think that's again, somewhere where the European Parliament's kind of scrutiny and accountability role will continue to be extremely important going forward. In the past five years, related to the pandemic and the climate crisis, we've seen like a series of big global promises, global commitments on everything from vaccine equity to climate mitigation and adaptation. But I think there's a real urgency to convert these promises into action. And that's where the Parliament can really help ensure that there is political pressure, political will to move towards implementation of these commitments. But like you said, this will be probably quite challenging given the expected dynamics in the next Parliament, but I hope that there will still be a majority that recognises that this is not only the right thing to do for our partners, but a smart thing for Europe as well.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Absolutely. And finally, what is your expectation with regards to the incoming commission? If there's one thing you could ask them to do, what would it be?

EMILY WIGENS:
Hard to choose just one, but I think we really need an ambitious EU long-term budget. This is going to be negotiated in 2025, the next seven-year tranche of funding for development and global climate action. And we really need a long-term budget that can sustain the EU's desire to shape global outcomes on these issues. But also deliver the win-win partnerships that we talked about earlier with strategic allies like Africa. So, for me, it's really about putting our money where our mouth is and funding the things that we say are important.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Excellent. Thanks so much, Emily, for joining me today.

So, I'm now joined by two members of European Parliament. We have Charles Goerens from Luxembourg and part of the Renew party group, as well as Udo Bullmann, Member of European Parliament from Germany and part of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. Welcome both. So, Charles, you were a former development minister, one of the many roles in your distinguished career and Udo, you’re a former professor of European studies. You’re both very passionate and very outspoken members of the European Parliament Development Committee. What would you both say to voters who do care about global development? Why they should go and cast a vote in June? Maybe start with you, Udo.

UDO BULLMANN:
Well, I think that our voters are intelligent observers of the global situation and they know exactly that today, much more than in any time before, the destiny of the European Union, the destiny of our member states, is dependent on the global situation and whether the European Union is willing and able to position us in the world with progressive alliances with friends in our neighbourhood, collectively solving the problems of the globe. And that is what we can showcase in each and any piece of legislation, in each and any piece of concrete policies in the European Union.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Charles, what would you say to that?

CHARLES GOERENS:
Well, I would like to tell the voters that we should not underestimate the importance of the European Union for internal reasons. First, the European Union has a very important role to play in the world. We are the most important actor when it comes to development cooperation. And we should, yes, give this possibility more visibility on the African continent or elsewhere. And the European Union is a union basing its cooperation on partnership with our countries. We always are very close to in touch with this principle, which in my regard is one of the most important dimensions of the European Union in its relationship with third countries. That's very important. And we have, in addition to what is done by other big players, India or other superpowers. That we always try to base our relationship on fundamental values, which are enshrined in all our agreements we adopt with third countries.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
So, you've probably have faced some questions about why global development matters and why you're both a member of this committee. So, what do you feel like is the single most successful argument to convince voters who might be a bit more skeptical about global development that it actually works? Udo, over to you.

UDO BULLMANN:
I am of the conviction that our voters are very sensitive for the global developments, because the global developments are coming closer and closer. In each and every community you feel climate change is one of the most threatening prospects of humankind. You see the threatening character of military conflicts and wars like Putin's war in the Ukraine. The situation in Israel and Gaza. We need a European Union that speaking with one voice, and that is strong and that is dedicated to representing its values and its policies in this international context. So, this is the emergency of becoming a global actor for the European Union. I truly believe that things like climate change do not stop at national borders, you only can fight them together. You only find answers on the globe if you move and transform towards new modes of production and communication and consumption, that is a joint endeavor represented, for instance, by principle, by the 2030 agenda of the United Nations, the SDGs—Sustainable Development Goals—that can only be achieved if we work together to the mutual benefit of all partners.

And here the European Union has to play its role. The Green Deal will only work if nobody is left behind. If people are integrated. If people get a chance to master their own destiny, they can contribute with their wills and their skills to a team result in their communities, on land level, on regional level, in countries level, as well as European-wide and worldwide. And that is the question of motivating and integrating all people of goodwill towards the same destiny and towards the same destination.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Thanks, Udo. Charles. How about you? What would you say to voters who are sceptical about global development?

CHARLES GOERENS:
Well, if you consider, for instance, the existence of the Paris Agreement on climate change, it's not only a duty for industrialized countries, it's also a duty for developing countries. And we have to act together in order to overcome the problems met so far. In this regard, it's very important that the European Union has a clear view on its policy towards the respect of the Paris Agreement, and that's the reason why we have adopted the Green Deal. And without the Green Deal, the European Union could never fulfil its commitments. It undersigned in the period when it adopted the Paris Agreement, together with the other more than 160 countries. For me, it's indispensable to (INAUDIBLE) this way. And in addition to that, we have to fulfil the SDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals. 15 years earlier, the situation was quite different because the Millennium Development Goals, the predecessors of the SDGs, concerned, first of all, developing countries. But since 2015, given the fact that the Sustainable Development Goals are binding for all the countries around the world, we can consider all the countries, including the European Union, as developing countries in this regard.

Because we have a lot to do in order to overcome the difficulties opposing the realization of the fulfilment of the commitments laid down in the Paris Agreement on climate change.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Agreed. That's a very important point. It's not just north-south, developing-developed countries. I think we can all learn from each other. Looking back over the last five years, your time in the development committee, the last legislative period, what achievement are you most proud of? Udo.

UDO BULLMANN:
Well, we started by introducing a totally new scheme, Global Europe, where we put together all the different funds of international politics of the European Union. We now have one huge fund to collaborate in international partnerships. And what we have developed in these five years is a system of scrutinising what the commission is doing, because that is our job. As parliamentarians, we have to safeguard the effectiveness of our international policies and also to safeguard the values in which international programmes are run. We have seen positive developments on the side of the Commission. We had, and we still have an excellent commissioner, Jutta Urpilainen, who gives preference to human development, preference to education and health, which is clearly necessary. And she has also introduced a so-called inequality marker, where we try to focus on the most vulnerable people in our partner countries. We would like to know exactly what proportion of our money is reaching the 40 percent at the lower end of the population in our partner countries.

So, we put into the focus the fight against inequality, because we have a firm conviction that only if we fight inequalities—unfortunately growing inequalities—between as well as within our nation states all over the globe, then we give hope to the people to encourage them also to find their own roadmap towards a better society. If poor and rich are more and more driven apart, if the resources are distributed unequally, that 30 or 40 percent of the society are not able to contribute to a better future and cannot identify with our goals, then we have a major problem. So, fighting inequalities is a strategic lever to bring common good to the forefront. And I'm proud that we managed to do that. And that the commission meanwhile adopted a so-called inequality marker. They measure who is really benefiting from our global programmes. That is of the essence also for the next mandate. So better effectiveness, more focusing, underscoring the needs of human development, developing towards international partnerships on equal footing.

I would quote these issues as the most successful achievements during the last five years.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Thanks, Udo. So, Charles, what would you say was one of the highlights of the past five years?

CHARLES GOERENS:
I agree that the adoption of the NDICI Global Europe, which means no less than the financing instrument of the European Commission concerning development policy. As you know the Parliament and the Council agreed on an amount of 80 billion euros allocated to development areas. And a second highlight was the mid-term review of this document. And in addition to that, I had the privilege to make the report on the future financial architecture of the European Union.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
You just mentioned the mid-term review. Wasn't that also partly a bit of a letdown when the heads of state agreed to redeploy some of the funds from heading six to migration management? What was your reaction to that?

CHARLES GOERENS:
Well, we have to face in (INAUDIBLE) you have said, a very difficult situation. As you know, the fiscal policy of the European Union has become very difficult. Most of the member countries have a huge budget deficit. Of course, we have to face this reality but nonetheless, the European Union were very determined to renew its promise in 2015 to allocate at least 0.7 percent of GDP to development matters. Unfortunately, this promise is not fulfilled so far, and we will have to be more active as the European Parliament to increase the pressure on our governments to be in line with the promise made on their behalf at the Addis Ababa conference in 2015 concerning financing development.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Udo what would you say?

UDO BULLMANN:
We are very well aware about necessities, for instance, to support in our neighborhood. For instance, the Ukraine: We need to do that, no doubt about it. We are fully identifying with that. There needs also to be proactive migration policy. I would say really that mirrors our political values. It's not about building fences. It's about migration is a natural thing. So, it's about also defining legal pathways. It's about win-win situations with countries in the South. Of course, you need also money for that. But if it comes to the expense of our development policy, if we need to cut down our support in international partnerships for Africa, for Asia and for the Americas, then it's a mistake. And here we have to talk to the heads of state and government, whether they perhaps not have done already a mistake in redefining the scope of the MFF. And the new Parliament has to argue on that, because we cannot claim to be a global actor and at the same time reducing our implementation capacity in our partnership programs.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
So, we've now talked about highlights. Can I ask you both, was there also moments where you felt frustrated with how things played out?

CHARLES GOERENS:
Well, at the occasion of our work on the mid-term review, when it came to seeing what we could allocate to the African continent for the next remaining four years of the NDICI global Europe. There was an opposition from several member states, the so-called frugal states, as you know, they don't want to allocate more money to contribute more important amounts to the European budget. And that means that in reality, we have to adjust our programs for the African continent, which is the wrong message at this specific time. We know that the BRICS states are very active and that they are competitors to the European Union on the African continent. And this is really the wrong message. We must overcome that. And of course, we have expressed a very strong message as a European Parliament in this regard. And we have to try again and again in order to convince the European Union that it's very important that this specific moment to be more active, to be more engaged, to be more committed towards our African friends.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Udo, over to you.

UDO BULLMANN:
My take is being a member of the European Parliament who loves this job, and who is permanently trying to innovate and to spearhead progress, sometimes I think the council is very slow. And if Europe is not able to work out its contradictions and allow one or two members to slow us down in crucial questions, we put the hurdles in front of ourselves and that cannot be forgiven against the backdrop of the worldwide challenges we have to live up to. So please, Council Member States, speed up and learn how to develop unified speedy reactions to urgent problems. Otherwise, we are not living up to our capacities and to what the world is expecting from the European Union.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
And thinking about the elections. The polls show that we can expect a more fragmented parliament and a shift to the right. This might slow things down a bit further. So, Charles, how do you expect these dynamics to affect the European Parliament and the EU's approach to global development?

CHARLES GOERENS:
Well, I think we cannot exclude an increase of the representation of a far-right party in this parliament. Let's say if they can get something between 20 and 25 percent, the remaining other parties gather something between 75 and 80 percent, and it's up to the 75 or 80 percent to act in a way that new legislation is still possible, that a responsible attitude vis a vis the problems matter in today's policy can still work. I think all the traditional parties, like the EPP, S&D, and Renew, and even the Greens, must act in a way to overcome the situation created by an increase of the far-right party. And I personally am in favour of a cordon sanitaire vis a vis the extreme right parties. Because parties tolerating Nazis in their midst are no longer a discussion partner with me or my party.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Thanks, Charles. Udo, how about you?

UDO BULLMANN:
Well, threefold answer to that question. First of all, the sovereign has not yet spoken. We are entering into the campaign right now, and before we have a final result, I will not comment on the composition of the European Parliament. What we already see is the composition of the Council and the composition, most probably the composition of the European Commission. The weather is going to be tough between the institutions. That is my prognosis. And even more, we need to have a self-confident European Parliament which knows where to go. And that is also a challenge for the political groups, for the democratic groups. They have to get their act together and they have to be able to compromise for the common good of our citizens.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Charles, what do you think is the EU's offer to countries in the Global South that make it different from what other global players have to offer?

CHARLES GOERENS:
Well, I think first of all that our policy is based on values. Values are enshrined in our cooperation agreements with the South. It's a part of conditionality laid down in the programming documents of the European Commission and the Parliament. The watchdog of this policy, of course, is a very determined to monitor the activities of the European Commission in this regard.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Udo, what would you say?

UDO BULLMANN:
So, first of all, we have to get rid of our hypocrisies and walk the talk. That is number one, because that is a precondition to be taken seriously by our partners and they expect that from us. It's allowed to talk about yourself interests, but if you would like to partner, you also have to listen to your partners. And they have their self-interests and their obligations to deliver as well to their citizens. So, respect is a very extremely important element of our communication. Listen to be respectful and accept the power of decision-making within your partner countries and do not teach them permanently. This is what especially young African nations expect from us. Defining your self-interest. That should not be done in a very short termism way, because what is European self-interest? European self-interest is that we're living in a peaceful world. It's our self-interest to have functioning worldwide markets. It's our self-interest to have excellent social standards in our societies.

And that can only be achieved if we help others to gain the same achievements. So, we need to have positive spillovers in our trade policy and our agricultural industry policy also in development, to enable and build up capacities for young nations in the Global South to follow their own path of development. And allow them also to define their own way to sustainability. Of course, in whatever we do, and that is an obligation the European Union has, makes it also distinct from other international actors. There is article 21 in the treaties of the European Union. We need whatever we do externally to promote human rights and to help to implement human rights. That is a very standalone element of the European Union. I'm proud of that, but we have to make it real. It's not enough to have it in our treaty. It must be implemented in our concrete actions.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
So, I want to ask you both if you're re-elected, what are your priorities for the next five years? Udo, let's start with you.

UDO BULLMANN:
I would say let's continue with our fight against inequality. Let's totally reform also our trade policy because trade is well understood as a bridge to mutual achievements, as a bridge to adding on our sustainability goals and again as a major tool for development policy. Also promoting international partnerships on equal footing. Bring the Samoa agreement to life so that we from both sides can profit from that. That would be achievements on my agenda.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Thank you. Udo. Charles, what are your priorities for the next five years?

CHARLES GOERENS:
Well, my priorities will be to address the security challenge in Europe. On the one side and on the other, I try to be very close in touch with development problems, given the fact that a huge amount of money will be allocated towards security. I see myself in a role as a defender of the position of the developing countries, and I think we need a strong support in this Parliament for Africa, for Asia, for developing countries in Latin America. That's my duty. I used to be in this position over the last 15 years as a coordinator for my political group, for Renew. And between 1999 and 2004, I was Minister of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Relief in my country, in Luxembourg.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
So, one final question for you both. If you had a magic wand and you could change any policy, what would it be?

CHARLES GOERENS:
Well, in general terms, speaking, I would like to change the functioning of the European Union, which in my regard is of a huge importance. We are not effective enough. We are not speedy enough. We have to overcome this handicap. And what we need for the next five, ten years is to have a clear view on what is happening around the European Union. The European Union is no longer the center of the world. We have a very important role to play together with all the other democracies in order to promote the principle of democracy, the fundamental values must be part of our relationship with the rest of the world. And in that regard, we have to be more united. We have to be better organized in our foreign policy. We need a real foreign policy and not only an actor habilitated to coordinate the positions of 27 member states. For me, the most important priority is to improve the functioning of the European Union. That's why we have adopted a resolution in the Parliament to invite the European Council to open a European Convention in order to prepare an intergovernmental conference aiming at changing the treaties that it's good for the European Union in general, and also for our external relationship in particular. And more particular in our relationship with developing countries.

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Udo. And what would you want to change?

UDO BULLMANN:
National political elites, including political class elites, and also journalists, should raise their awareness of what is going on in other countries, especially in the Global South. Be clear about what is going on. And please get somehow rid also off this very narrow focus you also find in a lot of countries, very much concentrating on a domestic view about international ongoings. Please understand what are the driving forces in India, in South Africa, and Brazil, to talk about big countries, understand what moves new entities like the BRICS. Plus, what are the contradictions? What is the overlap of the interests in these countries?

ANITA KÄPPELI:
Great. Thank you both for joining me here today. And also a big thanks to our listeners for your continued support of our work.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.