The European Parliament has taken up six resolutions to discuss and vote on India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Five of these resolutions are critical of CAA while one moved by European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group is in support of the act. The debate on the matter will be January 29, and the members of European Parliament (MEPs) will vote on the resolutions on January 30.
The largest group in the European parliament is the European People’s Party with 182 MEPs in the 751 members European Parliament, and this group is critical of CAA. EPP, which is considered Centre-right on the European Parliament and is primarily a coalition of European Christian Democrats, said, CAA “is selective and excludes Muslims from provisions provided to other religious groups” and expressed concern about the “wide range of negative consequences that it might have for India’s international image and internal stability”.
As the Indian government has maintained that CAA is ‘entirely internal’ matter of India, the resolution by the European Parliament will have a negative impact on EU-India relations, which has been an important trading partner, accounting for 18 per cent of total exports and 13 per cent of total trade.
The Indian government has reacted to the EU resolution by saying that the sponsors and supporters of the CAA should first engage with India to get “a full and accurate assessment of the facts before they proceed further”.
Even if the European Parliament passes the resolutions critical of CAA, it is not going to make a big difference, as Amit Shah has repeatedly said that there will be no compromise on CAA. But, it is very much evident from the desperation of EU that they are trying to remain relevant on the Global platform at a time when Brexit has been finalized.
The EU has faced severe criticism from the right-wing leaders of countries across Europe. In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson led a pro-Brexit campaign and won one of the largest majority in the last few decades. The UKIP leader Nigel Farage became extremely popular, riding on the anti-European sentiments.
In France, Marine Le Pen, the President of the National Front, registered largest-ever tally in the Presidential election, riding on the anti-European Union and anti-immigration stand. The European Union has been criticized for being elitist, out of touch, and anti-democratic, and too bureaucratic.
After the Brexit and the rising anti-European Union sentiment across Europe, the translational body is trying to remain relevant through these resolutions, and trying to pose that it is still a powerful International body. The EU is trying to be the flag bearer of ‘liberal democracy’ and what they call ‘rule-based international system’; but it has failed in the last few years and the biggest proof of this is, obliviously, Brexit.
The EU is also using these resolutions to build pressure on India on the matter of ongoing free trade deal talks. The EU-India free trade deal is lurking since last few years, and given the Brexit, the major trading partner of India is EU- Britain- is out of the list; India might prefer an FTA with Britain instead of one with EU.
Therefore, through these resolutions, the EU wants to build pressure on India to go FTA with the organization instead of with Britain. The organization might put some economic/trade sanctions on India to further pressurize India for the trade deal. However, given the organization itself is on the brink of collapse and very little credibility is left, the EU resolutions are going to hurt its interest and efforts to remain relevant.