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Stephan Keukeleire and Tom De Bruyn

This chapter examines how the European Union is challenged by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and other emerging powers, along with its implications for the world order. It first provides an overview of the nature of the BRICS phenomenon before discussing the EU's contractual and political relations, as well as ‘strategic partnership’, with the BRICS countries and other emerging powers. It then considers the EU–BRICS relationship on the basis of three key perspectives: the EU as a subsystem of international relations, the EU as a power in international relations, and the EU as part of the wider processes of international relations. In particular, it explores the EU's capacity to generate external collective action towards the BRICS countries and other emerging powers. It also analyses EU–BRICS relations within the context of shifts in multilateralism and in the global governance architecture.