Procedure : 2008/2627(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0440/2008

Texts tabled :

B6-0440/2008

Debates :

PV 24/09/2008 - 5
CRE 24/09/2008 - 5

Votes :

PV 24/09/2008 - 10.5

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2008)0455

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 116kWORD 57k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B6-0426/2008
17 September 2008
PE413.293
 
B6‑0440/2008
to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and Commission
pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure
by Pasqualina Napoletano, Hannes Swoboda, Emilio Menéndez del Valle, Neena Gill, Jo Leinen, Thijs Berman and Jan Marinus Wiersma
on behalf of the PSE Group
on the preparation of the EU-India Summit (Marseille, 29 September 2008)

European Parliament resolution on placethe preparation of the EU-India CitySummit (Marseille, 29 September 2008) 
B6‑0440/2008

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Ninth EU-India Summit, which will take place on 29 September 2008 in Marseille,

–  having regard to the EU-India Strategic Partnership Agreement of 2004(1),

–  having regard to the 2005 Joint Action Plan, adopted at the Sixth EU-India Summit, held in Delhi on 7 September 2005,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication on a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement,

–  having regard to the launch of the negotiations on an EU-India Free Trade Agreement FTA) in 2006,

–  having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the EU and India constitute the biggest democracies in the world, and their shared commitment to democracy, pluralism, the rule of law and multilateralism in international relations contributes to global peace and stability,

B.  whereas the agenda of the Marseille Summit is likely to be dominated by the review of the 2005 Joint Action Plan, climate change, peace and security, education, health and food security,

C.  whereas in domestic politics India is currently facing a number of crises, such as the unremitting violence of Islamist Jihadism, the politico-religious tensions in Jammu and Kashmir, communal violence against converted Christians in Orissa, and natural disasters in the north east,

D.  whereas the wave of violence and the mass murders directed towards hundreds of Christians last August in Orissa took place without any intervention from the local police, and whereas Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s leaders stated that violence would not cease until Orissa was totally free of Christians,

E.  whereas since October 2005 more than 400 people have died in bomb attacks in Indian cities; whereas the latest of these took place on 13 September, leaving at least 20 people dead and many injured,

F.  whereas a Free Trade Agreement with country-regionplaceIndia is currently under negotiation, but unlikely to be concluded before the end of 2008, since the areas to be covered, in particular public procurement and services, are disputed,

G.  whereas India has made enormous progress in providing food security for its people; whereas, however, a sizable share of the population still lacks access to sufficient quantities of food; whereas poverty remains a problem in that nearly a third of the country’s population lives below the poverty line,

1.  Welcomes the holding of the Ninth India EU-Summit meeting as an expression of a sustainable Strategic Partnership and strongly recommends that these annual summit meetings be preceded in the future by parliamentary pre-summit meetings in order to underline the democratic scrutiny of this process and to enhance understanding of the points of view and democratic systems on both sides;

2.  Strongly supports closer ties between the EU and India and believes that mutual respect and partnership find their best expression in open dialogue on all matters, including those on which there may be divergent views; encourages the Indian authorities, therefore, to engage in negotiations on a partnership and cooperation agreement with the EU as a sign of further upgrading and deepening the relationship; believes that the conclusion of such an agreement would improve the quality of the partnership, and invites both sides to engage in the negotiations as equal partners;

3.  Welcomes the review of the 2005 Joint Action Plan, hopes that it will set clear priorities and deadlines for the activities agreed and reiterates its wish to be involved in the review process; is prepared to engage in discussions with the Commission in order to define the format of this involvement;

4.  Calls on country-regionIndia to continue liberalisation and reform in order to make possible deeper trade and business links between the EU and placecountry-regionIndia;

5.  Supports the FTA negotiations with India while fully respecting the differing economic positions of the two partners, the particular socio-economic situation of India and, especially, the situation of poor and subsistence farmers; considers an ambitious sustainable development chapter to be an essential part of any agreement and emphasises that this should be subject to the standard dispute settlement mechanism;

6.  Welcomes the launch in placeCityDelhi of the European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC), which will help to foster links between European and Indian businesses, as well as between science and technology actors, with a view to responding to the demands of the Indian market.

7.  Requests that the Council make urgent progress on extending the blue card visa system to Indian nationals;

8.  Calls on the Commission to give due weight in its ongoing FTA negotiations with India to human rights considerations, in particular the implementation of ILO Labour Standards in connection with child and bonded labour (Conventions No 138 and 182), the abolition of non-tariff barriers and ongoing restrictions in the field of Foreign Direct Investment in important sectors, and intellectual property rights;

9.  Acknowledges the increasingly important transport links between India and the EU, and calls on the EU and Indian leaders to take further steps towards strengthening cooperation in civil aviation by signing (i) the Horizontal Air Transport Agreement, which will restore legal certainty to the bilateral air services agreements that India has with 26 EU Member States, (ii) a Joint Action Plan for future cooperation in a wide range of areas in the field of civil aviation and (iii) a significant EU-India technical cooperation project in aviation with EU funding of EUR 12.5 million as a follow-up to past EU technical assistance to India in connection with aviation safety; also supports the finalisation of the negotiations between the EU and India on a bilateral maritime transport agreement, which would be of major importance to the development of trade relations between the EU and India and increase cooperation in quality shipping and maritime safety;

10.  Welcomes the establishment in June 2008 of the India-European Parliament Parliamentary Friendship Group, which will act within the Indian Parliament as a counterpart to the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the Republic of India; hopes that this positive development will launch a meaningful and structured dialogue between the two Parliaments on issues of global and common interest through regular bilateral visits and round-table discussions;

11.  Recognises that India plays a major role in conflict prevention and peacekeeping in its neighbourhood and beyond; is concerned by the current volatile political situation in Pakistan and the increasingly insecure situation in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka and expresses the hope that India, as predominant country in the region, will act as a promoter of stability and peace;

12.  Would like placecountry-regionIndia and the EU, particularly through the intermediary of the EU Special Envoy for Burma/Myanmar, to work together to prevail upon the Burmese military junta to release political prisoners and respect human rights and to study together all the options for moving from dictatorship to democracy;

13.  Welcomes the shared commitment of the Indian Union and the EU to multilateralism, and would like them to work together to reinforce it through reform of the organisation of the United Nations;

14.  Recognises that India provides a model for handling cultural and religious pluralism; expresses, however, its deep concern about the spread of violence in Orissa, which, while being portrayed as a Hindu-Christian conflict, is an issue between the dominant caste on the one hand and the Dalits and tribal communities on the other; expresses deep concern over the concept of Hindutwa, which seeks to legitimise the supremacy of the Hindu religion and which is propagated by several political parties such as the ruling BJP-BJD in Orissa and their allies;

15.  Urges the Indian Government and the State Government of Orissa to put an end to the violence in Orissa and recalls the obligation under the relevant international human rights law, which India has ratified (the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination), to ensure that similar violence used to suppress Dalit empowerment does not occur again;

16.  Calls on the President of India to reinstate peace in Orissa through the imposition of presidential law and to place Kandhamal district under the control of the Indian army in order to restore confidence to the victims; underlines the need to guarantee the victims assistance and prompt rehabilitation; stresses the need for all those accused, including senior members of the police, to be tried speedily by proper courts of law;

17.  Deplores the outbreak of riots in Indian-administered Kashmir in August 2008, triggered by the transfer of land to a Hindu shrine trust; notes with concern the violent pro‑independence demonstrations and the high death toll among Muslim protesters killed by police over the past weeks; demands that the Indian authorities take all steps to de‑escalate the violence, so that free and fair elections can be held in Kashmir in a stable environment as soon as possible;

18.  Is deeply concerned at the disaster caused by floods in north east India, affecting in particular the state of Bihar, but also neighbouring Nepal and Bangladesh; deplores the fact that the disaster has claimed huge number of victims and left more than 1 million homeless; welcomes the granting of emergency aid by the EU; appeals to the Indian administration and to the international community, including the EU, for more emergency assistance;

19.  Welcomes the efforts of the Indian Government and civil society in the rescue and evacuation process, coordination and distribution of food and relief camp management; emphasises that shelter and water sanitation must now be the top priorities in order to stabilise the public health situation; advocates greater international cooperation with India to support the urgent implementation of climate adaptation actions, since natural and man‑made disasters, such as floods, are on the increase, making it necessary to step up prevention and recovery measures;

20.  Welcomes, with regard to respect for human rights, India’s cooperation with the UN Human Rights Council; also commends the Indian National Human Rights Commission on its independent and rigorous work on religious discrimination and other issues; regrets that India has not yet ratified the international Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment or its optional protocol; recommends that India ratify both instruments without delay; urges the Indian Government immediately to abolish the death penalty by imposing a moratorium on executions; encourages the Indian Government to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; urges India to sign up to the International Criminal Court;

21.  Welcomes the desire of the Council of the European Union to fight discrimination, particularly against the Roma, hopes that these intentions will be followed up with action, and urges the Government of India to engage further, on the effective elimination of caste‑based discrimination, with the relevant UN human rights bodies, including the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the UN Special Rapporteurs assigned to develop Principles and Guidelines for the Elimination of Discrimination based on Work and Descent;

22.  Calls for a report on human rights policy actions taken with India to be drawn up by the Commission, bearing in mind that the EU-India human rights dialogue is held up as a model of its kind; expresses its surprise, in this context, at the fact that India is not included among the countries eligible for European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) funding for civil society microprojects;

23.  Reaffirms the place that civil society must take in debates on substantive issues in the current bilateral negotiations, insists in this context that role of the EU-India Civil Society Round Table set up in 2001 be reinforced, and calls in particular for it to given the means to carry out effectively its mission of consulting civil society in the EU and India; asks that greater account be taken of the results of these exchanges in the EU’s decision‑making process;

24.  Notes the approval by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) of the US-India civil nuclear accord (and of the Indian pledge to abide by its non-proliferation commitments and to uphold a voluntary moratorium on testing atomic weapons); fears nevertheless that this deal creates a dangerous precedent, because India, while abiding by it, has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); asks India, therefore, to sign and ratify it; recalls that India has not ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and strongly encourages it to do so;

25.  Invites the Commission, which has observer status in the NSG, to inform the EP of the details of the NSG decision, in particular as regards possible exemptions granted to India from restrictions on certain nuclear technologies in the event of India’s testing a nuclear weapon;

26.  Believes that the EU and India should take a more proactive combined stance against climate change, in particular on issues such as technology transfer and working together on energy and renewables, and welcomes all efforts made by the Indian Government in the field of climate change; encourages the Summit to adopt a work programme in this context; encourages all practical steps with a view to reducing emissions such as technology transfer in all fields of renewable energies, in particular wind and solar power and biomass; notes that this also includes flexibility on intellectual property rights;

27.  Encourages India, also, to engage actively in multilateral negotiations regarding the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and to commit itself to en effective, equitable global agreement based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, as agreed in the Bali Road Map;

28.  Encourages the EU and India to keep up momentum as regards the negotiations related to the Doha Development Agenda (DDA); stresses that it is key to relaunch negotiations as soon as possible so as to allow agreement to be reached on modalities by the end of the year and that, to this end, the two parties must seek as close a convergence of views as possible on key DDA issues;

29.  Stresses that India’s food security remains an area of concern; calls on the Indian Government to bridge the demand-supply gap by accelerating the pace of domestic production of food grains and ensuring public and private investment, the introduction of new technologies and crop diversification;

30.  Welcomes the progress achieved by India towards poverty eradication (MDG 1); regrets, however, the lack of progress towards the MDGs on education, health, gender equality and empowerment of women; reiterates its concerns that child mortality and maternal health (MDGs 4 and 5) are the areas showing least progress and are unlikely to be achieved by 2015; calls on the Council, the Commission and the Government of India to prioritise actions on gender equality, reduction of child mortality and improvement of maternal health;

31.  Calls on the EU and placecountry-regionIndia to put greater emphasis on people-to-people exchanges and greater cultural dialogue;

32.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the EU Special Envoy to placecountry-regionBurma and the Government and Parliament of India.

(1) (COM(2004)430 final).

Last updated: 18 September 2008Legal notice