Narratives for Europe: Reading Room - Cristina Pecequilo

Cristina Soreanu Pecequilo

has a PhD in Political Science obtained at the University of São Paulo. She is a Professor of International Relations at São Paulo Federal University (UNIFESP) and an Associate Researcher at the Brazilian Center of Strategy and International Relations (NERINT/Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul), at the Research Group Brazilian International Projection at UNIFESP and the Federal Univeristy of ABC (UFABC) and at the Research Group Brazil´s International Relations at the University of Brasilia (UnB). Also, she develops several researches, teaching and consulting activities in the International Relations field, in particular regarding the analysis of Brazilian and American foreign policy. These studies are also focused on the foreign policy of emerging nations such as Russia, China, India and Brazil´s relations with Latin America, added to the analysis of current international affairs. She has several books and papers published, both in Portuguese and English

Cristina Pecequilo speaks at the Dwarfing of Europe event in Amsterdam

“Brazil and the European Union: Partner, Model or Threat?”


The end of the first decade of the 21st century was characterized by significant crossroads in the European Union and the United States that put into check traditional social, political and economic policies. Problems such as unemployment, low salaries, loss of economic competitiveness, social tensions let to the definition of this period as the one of a new depression, part of a broader structural change in the world ́s balance of power. These trends were representative of change in Western societies, that seemed to reach the limits of their development and dynamism, which was being expressed by popular protests and the loss of international projection. For the European Union, even the idea of integration was being questioned, and viewed as part of the problem and not part of the solution.

On the other hand, countries like Brazil, China, India, South Africa, and Russia, were experiencing an era of prosperity, coupled with the recovery of their sense of pride, power resources and social progresses due to their economic expansion. Concepts like emerging nations, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) gained ground, portraying these nations as the new alternative power axis of international politics: an axis of Third World nations, located in Asia, Europe and the Americas, that represented part of the West and the East, that focused on economic and political policies different from the ones that were implemented in the North, in particular in the 2000s. The power transition seemed to indicate a decline of the North, and the creation of a multipolar scenario, in which the South would prevail. Nevertheless, these same nations are nowadays facing similar problems in their economies as the indexes of growth are slowing down, due to the ongoing global imbalances.

Whereas considering these trends, the aim of this paper is to analyze, one feature of this process of reordering, focusing on one of the most relevant partnerships of Brazilian foreign policy: the European Union. So, how Brazil is seeing a possible dwarfing of Europe? Are these changes in the world ́s balance power going to represent a widening gap between these traditional partners? A deepening of the North-South divide and differences of opinion jeopardize prospects of cooperation?

In order to answer these questions, the text will analyze how this relation is evolving, by considering Brazil ́s perceptions of the European Union. Although deepened by current turbulences, these expectations are rooted in previous issues linked to sovereignty, geopolitical, strategic and economic trends. Mostly, for Brazil, the European Union can be seen as a three-fold relation: as a partner, a model or a threat.

As a partner and model, the weight of European integration as an example for Brazil is going to be discussed, as well as the sometimes excessive focus on this same process of integration (and the idea of a European Union-Common Market of the South framework). Therefore, it is necessary to investigate if the relation is facing a downside due to the European Union economic crisis or if it also embodies differences of political positions, regarding broader themes such as human rights, the environment and sovereignty. In addition, it is going to be discussed, from Brazil ́s perspective, if there is a sense of frustration that may lead to misplaced notions of threat. So, is Brazil better off without Europe? Or is Europe better off without Brazil? Or, even, is Europe better off without its own Union? 

Narratives for Europe Reading Room

We invite you to read the contributions from journalists, researchers, writers who are, as we, investigating and questioning European Narratives and their making in the present and the future.