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Brussels foreign affairs head calls for EU presence at BRICS meetings

By Fu Jing in Brussels | | Updated: 2017-09-12 00:50

Brussels foreign affairs head calls for EU presence at BRICS meetings

The ambassadors of BRICS countries in Belgium have addressed at a conference on their countries' role in the world in Brussels on Sept 8, 2017. [Photo/]  

The European Union should be invited to expand the BRICS partnership and take part in the BRICS+ concept, a senior Belgian official said on Friday in Brussels following last week's BRICS summit in Xiamen, China.

"The Summit in Xiamen added a new dimension to the BRICS+ concept…In my opinion inviting the European Union (in the future gatherings) would certainly make sense," said Anick Van Calster, director general for Bilateral Affairs of Belgium's Federal Public Service of Foreign Affairs at a conference on BRICS countries' global role arranged by the five embassies in Belgium.

Van Calster said she has noticed that this time not only neighboring countries were invited, but the Chinese host also took the initiative to invite Mexico, Egypt, the President of the African Union, Equatorial Guinea, the President of the G77 Thailand and Tajikistan.

They have joined Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in Xiamen, Fujian province during 4-5 September when China hosted the BRICS annual summit.

"I noted with interest the proposal of Chinese Ambassador to Belgium Qu Xing to devote part of this conference to the relations between the BRICS and the European Union," said Van Calster.

"May I consider this as a hint that the BRICS countries are seriously considering to enrich the BRICS+ concept even further by inviting the European Union to one of their future meetings?"

She said it "makes sense" to invite European Union at the future gatherings.

She added it is inspiring to discuss how to enhance the interaction of the BRICS with the rest of the world in international fora to the benefit of a safer, cleaner and happier world.

Van Calster said that in many statements the BRICS countries underlined their commitment to principles that are also held in high esteem by the European Union and its member states. Van Calster listed strong support to multilateralism and commitments to refrain from protectionism as examples.

"Belgium upholds the same principles and wants to remain a reliable partner for those countries that wish to advance these principles in a multilateral context," said Van Calster.

In their address on Friday, ambassadors of BRICS countries in Belgium have expected that their countries aim to obtain fairer share of saying in evolution of global governance architect and cooperate with European Union to cope with the pressing challenges the world has faced.

Alexander Tokovinin, Russian Ambassador to Belgium said the BRICS countries have contributed greatly to the global economic growth, global peace, stability and multilateral system.

"They could help realize fairer global governance and international democracy by gaining more say," said Tokovinin.

Citing example of the New Development Bank, which is based in Shanghai, Tokovinin said the BRICS countries have already achieved progress in reforming global economic governance architect.

Joining other embassies in organizing the conference themed as the BRICS role in the world, Tokovinin called it as an excellent initiative, which could help Europeans and Belgians better understand the mechanism of BRICS.

Echoing Tokovinin,Chinese Ambassador to Belgium Qu Xing also said the five countries' contribution to global economy is impressive.

Citing numbers, he said since their first summit nine years ago, the BRICS countries' combined GDP has grown by 179 percent and their share in world economy from 12 percent to 23 percent. And the contribution of the BRICS to the global growth rate is up to 50 percent in the past ten years.

"All this has contributed significantly to stabilizing the global economy and returning it to growth and it has delivered tangible benefits to the world," said Qu, who has initiated to make the BRICS to have better presence in Belgium and EU.

"The first decade of the BRICS cooperation is a very fruitful one but the potential is big."

Citing the BRICS leaders' commitments in boosting cooperation and coordination in improving global economic governance to foster a more just and equitable international economic order and safeguard international and regional peace and stability, Qu said the BRICS countries have strong reasons to believe in brighter future in the coming decade.

The five countries have also organized one-week film festival in Brussels on September 4-9.


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