Weekday Squib: Lobby us please, say EU officials

Or else they will take a position on the Kashmir issue

EU officials appear to be going green over all the lobbying dollars that are spent and earned in Washington.

However, the officials were of the view that India must also increase its lobbying at the EU and make every effort to project a true picture of the happenings in the valley.

“The Pakistanis are more focused… they are far more engaged. Lobbying does work at the EU,” they added. [Rediff]

Pakistanis, of course, would pay anyone to tell and listen to their story. But why would India want to lobby EU officials? As that astute Gaul likes to say, “these EUropeans are crazy”.

6 thoughts on “Weekday Squib: Lobby us please, say EU officials”

  1. There is a vast corrupt bureaucracy to be fed in EU headquarters in Brussels. And all bureaucracies have this wonderful notion – because they can obstruct (EU bureaucrats can’t legislate), they are important.

  2. Having met with some of these EU bureaucrats at sessions in Brussels, I believe there is a lot for India to gain by engaging with the EU. Not politically, but economically. Collectively, the EU is still one of the largest economies in the world and improved trade relations with the EU is in India’s interest.

    Regarding the comment by Chandra, it is true that EU bureaucrats can’t legislate. But bureaucrats can’t legislate in any democracy. It is the members of the European Parliament at Brussels who legislate and they EU legislation holds primacy over national legislation of member states. So any law passed in Brussels is enforceable in all member states. In any case, the bulk of each member states’ current laws on trade, enterprise, environment and labour are actually adaptations of relevant EU legislations.

  3. Shankar,

    First off — I’m not suggesting that there is no need to engage the EU. What I’m arguing is that there is no need to lobby the EU as there is to lobby Washington. Lobby here includes hiring ‘consultants’, ‘PR people’ and various government-types that can be found in Washington DC.

    Second, true the European parliament is theoretically armed with all those powers. But a common foreign policy is a long way off…The EU does put up a common face at international trade negotiations though. But I’m not sure of the value of lobbying MEUs on trade issues. Politicians and legislators of individual EU countries wield more influence, don’t you think?

  4. Nitin,

    I agree, there is probably very little political gain to be had through lobbying the European parliament. I also agree that a common foreign policy is unlikely to ever emerge.

    However, European MEPs and the EU trade commission wield quite a lot of influence. EU trade commissioners (based on powers granted by European legislation) frequently make important collective decisions on European tariffs and quota regimes (non-binding on members unless ratified, which they usually are). In fact, national governments have granted the commission considerable negotiating powers on their behalf when talking to third countries.

    I am not suggesting that India should not engage politically and economically with legislators of individual member states (especially the big ones). All I am saying is that ignoring Brussels, especially on trade issues, is not good idea.

    If you are interested in EU-India relations, here’s something you could read.


  5. The EUropean “come hither” has a pathetic ring to it. Their “goodies” are old and withered – not much on display (if you discount their inveterate streaking). Rambunctious young India’s will spend far more money in the ample bosom of Washington.

  6. Shankar, I actually meant the EU legislature. While they are elected, I believe they have little power to pass a law – they can propose laws but they are not legally binding on individual EU countries.

    I agree with you that economically – based on market size and prospects – EU is on par with US. In fact non-IT Indian companies, autos to tea, are more comfortable doing business in Europe. But India doesn’t lobby for favourable economic laws in US; it lobbies for favourable foreign policy issues that impact it.

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