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Anti-CAA resolutions in EU Parliament does not reflect official stand: EU spokesperson

Congress party workers protest against the BJP and the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) at Sector 18, on December 11, 2019 in Noida, India. Sunil Ghosh | Hindustan Times | Getty Images. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

NEW DELHI, Jan 28, 2020, India Today. The European Union has distanced itself from the six resolutions against India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that have been submitted in the European Parliament by lawmakers from six political groups, India Today reported.

EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Virginie Battu-Henriksson, told India Today TV that the opinions expressed by EU Parliament and some its members was not reflective of the “official position” of the 28-member political and economic union.

Close to 600 lawmakers in the 751-member EU Parliament moved six resolutions against the CAA, saying the enactment of the law marked a dangerous shift in India’s citizenship regime.

The resolutions have evoked strong reactions from the Modi government, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Speakers who have said a foreign legislature has no business commenting on India’s internal matters.

Now, the EU spokesperson has said, “As per its regular procedures, the European Parliament published the draft resolutions. It is important to recall that these texts are only drafts tabled by various political groups in the European Parliament. Let me also remind you that the opinions expressed by the European Parliament and its members do not represent the official position of the European Union.”

India has reacted strongly to the six resolutions which would be tabled and debated in the plenary session of the European Parliament on Wednesday around 6 pm local time and would be voted on a day later.

The formidable number of 626 of the 751 membership EU Parliament has come out in a scathing denouncement of not only the CAA but also the issue of Kashmir in its draft resolutions (numbering from B9-0077/2020 to B9-0082/2020).

But the EU spokesperson emphasised that they were aware of the upcoming debate over the legislation “adopted by the Government of India last December establishing a fast track procedure for irregular migrants belonging to certain religious groups originating from neighbouring countries”, but also pointed to the main focus of grouping was the India-EU summit to be held in March which would be attended by Prime Minister Modi.

“The EU will host its 15th Summit with India on the 13th March 2020 in Brussels, with a view to strengthen its Strategic Partnership with India. India is a key partner for the EU to address global challenges and to jointly promote the rules based multilateral order,” said the spokesperson.

Earlier, the same opinion was mirrored by the EU delegation in India when one of the officials said, “European Parliament is an independent institution, sovereign in the organisation of its work and in its deliberations. The text referred to are draft resolution by political groups in the European Parliament.”

A French diplomatic source added, “For France, a founding member of the European Union, the Citizenship Amendment Act is India’s internal political matter. We have stated this on several occasions. The European Parliament is an institution independent of Member States and the European Commission.”

In response to the draft resolution, Indian government sources had said on Sunday, “The CAA is a matter that is entirely internal to India. Moreover, this legislation has been adopted by due process and through democratic means after a public debate in both Houses of Parliament.”

Questioning what right does any outsider have to take actions against decisions that have been taken by a “democratically elected” government, a source said, “As fellow democracies, the EU Parliament should not take actions that call into question the rights and authority of democratically elected legislatures in other regions of the world”.

The European Parliament is set to debate and vote on resolutions that would be tabled by six political groups: the Renew Group (108 members), Europeans Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group (66 members), European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) Groups (41 members), European People’s Party (EPP) Group (182 members), Progressive Alliance of Socialist and Democratic (S&D) Group (154 members) and The Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA/Verts/ALE Group) (75 members), which totals to 626 MEPs (Members of European Parliament) who are backing the six draft resolutions.

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