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Declaration elicits exclamation from European observers

Updated: 2011-04-15 07:56
By Fu Jing ( China Daily)

BRUSSELS - Scholars from European countries expressed surprise that the BRICS group of developing countries agreed on such a "long, impressive and ambitious" declaration, which will inject new impetus into international relations and governance.

They said the five countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- will face mounting tasks of coordination to put the plan into action.

"I'm quite surprised how long the declaration is and how wide (an area) it covers," said Duncan Freeman, a senior researcher at the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies. "It goes beyond my expectations."

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Leaders from five of the world's largest emerging economies met in South China's resort city of Sanya on Thursday and achieved a consensus covering a wide range of issues such as a stance on Libya, support for Japan and multilateral cooperation. They also rolled out a 23-point action plan to implement previously launched programs, and start new projects and proposals.

"Now comes the hard part of translating an action plan from the stage of good intentions into real action," said David Fouquet, director of Europe-Asia Network in Brussels. "The participants have signaled their intention of achieving that status. Now they must prove their capability."

He urged the BRICS countries to think in a new way about global governance, adding that as rising powers, the countries may have the potential to actually take up or join global leadership -- a challenging task in these troubled times with a daunting agenda.

Federik Ponjaert, senior researcher with the Institute of European Studies of the University Liberty of Brussels, said that the inclusion of South Africa this time in the group of emerging economies is an interesting development.

He said the five countries have numerous differences economically but share the similarity of seeking global influence.

"So I am surprised that the Sanya Declaration has indicated that the five countries want to assert their political influence on the global stage," said Ponjaert. "Previously, they focused on economic and financial issues."

The five countries have agreed to achieve peace and a ceasefire in turbulent regions including Libya -- while China and Russia agreed to support the other three in playing a bigger role in international affairs.

However, Ponjaert said the declaration has identified the "common interests" of the five countries but lacks a "shared agenda of strategy ".

Meanwhile, there is a lack of enough solutions to realize their common interests in such wide range of issues.

"This is the very first step for the five countries to sit together and they have been faced with challenges to find shared strategy and solutions," said Ponjaert.