Russia sets sights on economic union with Greece; issues invitation to join BRICS bank

Greece may well be heading toward a move away from the Eurozone as a result of its spiraling debt and continuing misalignment with Western Europe’s economic policies, however the Southern European nation is forging a closer relationship with the developing ‘BRICS’ nations.

BRICS, an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is a group of nations which is unofficially recognized as the five major emerging economies.

On Monday this week, held a telephone conversation with Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak during which Mr Storchak invited Greece to become the sixth member of the New Development Bank of BRICS countries.

The incumbent radical left wing Syriza party, of which Mr. Tsipras is the leader, has publicly stated that it intends to look closely at joining the BRICS nations, clearly stating its intention on its website.

Mr. Storchak is a representative of the BRICS Bank which is currently in the process of being established. The newly appointed chief of the bank is Kundapur Vaman Kamath, the former Non-Executive Chairman of ICIC Bank, India’s second largest bank.

“The Prime Minister thanked Storchak and said he was pleasantly surprised by the invitation for Greece to be the sixth member of the BRICS Development Bank. Tsipras said Greece is interested in the offer, and promised to thoroughly examine it. He will have a chance to discuss the invitation with the other BRICS leader during the 2015 International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg,” the report stated.

In July last year, the BRICS member countries signed an agreement to establish the $100 billion New Development Bank at a summit in Fortaleza, Brazil. The institution, formerly referred to as the BRICS bank, also comprises a reserve currency pool set at $100 billion. Russia will contribute $18 billion to the pool, along with India and Brazil. China is expected to contribute the largest share of $41 billion, with South Africa chipping in the remaining $5 billion.

The bank is expected to be one of the largest financial institutions to fund various infrastructure projects in the BRICS countries and emerging economies, according to a report by Russian news source RT,com.

The BRICS group of prominent emerging economies was established in 2010, when South Africa joined Brazil, Russia, India and China in what was previously known as the BRIC nations. The BRICS countries make up about 40 percent of the world’s population and a combined economy of about $16 trillion.

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