EU for linking climate change, social disparity with India FTA

EU for linking climate change, social disparity with India FTA

Brussels: With increasing pressure on European Union (EU) to stick to a rigid stand on linking climate change and social disparity with trade, the conclusion of talks on India-EU Free Trade Agreement is set to get delayed.

“I am fully aware of India’s problems. I come from Poland where there is a difference between EU stand and interests of the country’s industries but we need to move to discuss these issues," member of European Parliament, Lena-Kolarska Bobinska, told Indian journalists visiting the EU headquarters.

She said the EU considered India an “absolutely crucial region" not only in terms of economy but also in terms of stablization of democracy.

But, there is a need to assess the impact of the FTA on the social groups of the country, she said.

The insistence of the 27-nation bloc would delay the conclusion of the negotiations launched in 2007 for signing an FTA which is aimed at removing duty and other barriers on the India-EU trade which aggregated $73 billion in 2007-08.

India’s Commerce Ministry has been strongly opposing linking the trade with social and climate change issues, arguing these are better left to the United Nations.

Bobinska said the EU Committee on environment would be meeting next week to articulate before European Parliament expectations on the issue of climate change.

Several rounds of negotiations have not resulted in a consensus on the level of trade to be covered under the pact.