questioned the strategic power of the EU in Asia.4Moreover, the EU’s political power
may have been constrained by increased global multi-polarity, a growing economic
nationalism, the financial and Eurozone crises and the ‘judicialisation’ of world
trade.5It seemed clear from the outset that the FTA negotiations between the EU and
India would not be a proverbial ‘walk in the park’.
This article addresses a number of critical issues in EU–India negotiations.
We begin by describing the general relationship between the EU and India and the
economic potential of the FTA in order to parse out what is at stake. Afterwards, we
address some of the difficulties by highlighting the following contentious issues raised
by civil society stakeholders: (1) European labour standards and World Trade Organ-
ization’s (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) Mode 4 liberali-
sation; (2) Indian generic medicine production and EU interests in patent protection;
(3) EU agricultural subsidies and their impact on the Indian dairy sector; (4) the
human rights and democracy dimension of the EU’s foreign policy; and (5) transpar-
ency issues of the negotiation process.
II General EU–India Relations
Considered ‘natural allies in a wide range of global issues’ by both parties,6diplomatic
relations between India and the EU were established in the early 1960s. Since the
1990s, cooperation between the two increased and their relationship was institution-
alised.7In 2004, the European Commission (Commission) proposed the establishment
of ‘an ambitious strategic partnership between the EU and India’.8The EU identi-
fied India as a ‘strategic partner’, as it increasingly strengthened its position on the
international scene, was booming economically and encompasses a vast territory and
population.9These ‘strategic partnerships’ have become one of the key features of
European foreign policy as a way for the EU to assert itself while allowing emerging
powers like India to build up their status as global players. In the context of this
partnership, the EU seeks to deepen economic ties with India through bilateral
dialogue on intellectual property rights, trade defence instruments, technical barriers
to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and customs cooperation.10 The
4D. Allen, ‘The EU and India: Strategic Partners but Not a Strategic Partnership’, in T. Christiansen,
E. Kirchner and P. Murray (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of EU-Asia Relations (Palgrave
Macmillan, 2013), at 572; G. Sachdeva, ‘India–EU Economic Ties: Strengthening the Core of the
Strategic Partnership’, in L. Peral and V. Sakhuja (eds.), The EU-India Partnership: Time to Go
Strategic? (EUISS and ICWA, 2012), at 54.
5S. McGuire and J. Lindeque, ‘The Diminishing Returns to Trade Policy in the European Union’, (2010)
48 Journal of Common Market Studies 1329, 1329–1333.
6High Level Trade Group, ‘Report of the EU-India High Level Trade Group to the EU-India Summit’,
(2006) http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2006/september/tradoc_130306.pdf, (accessed 5 August
7I. Goddeeris, ‘EU-India Relations’, (2011) Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies Policy Brief
8European Commission, ‘Commission Proposes a New Strategic Partnership between the EU and India’,
(2004) Press Release IP/04/759, http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/04/759&
format=HTML&aged=0&lg=da&guiLanguage=en. (accessed 5 August 2014).
9European Commission, ‘An EU–India Strategic Partnership’, (2004) Communication from the Com-
mission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee
COM (2004) 430. See, for a critical analysis of the strategic partnership, D. Allen, ‘The EU and India
10 High Level Trade Group, ‘Report of the EU-India High Level Trade Group . . .’, n 6 supra, 7–8.
November 2014 EU–India Free Trade Agreement Negotiations
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.