Six groups from European Parliament move resolution against CAA, abrogation of Article 370: A look at their ideological leanings

  • The European Parliament is set to debate and vote on a resolution tabled by some of its members against India's Citizenship Amendment Act, which it says marks a dangerous shift in the country's citizenship regime

  • A total of six resolutions have been tabled by six groups within the EU, have urged the Indian authorities to 'engage constructively' with those protesting against the law and consider their demands to repeal the "discriminatory CAA"

  • The European People's Party (EPP) is the biggest European political party with conservative and liberal-conservative member parties. A transnational organisation, it is composed of other political parties, not individuals

The European Parliament is set to debate and vote on a resolution tabled by some of its members against India's Citizenship Amendment Act, which it says marks a dangerous shift in the country's citizenship regime. The resolution was tabled together by six groupings comprising of 559 members in the 751-member European Parliament.

The resolution, tabled by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) Group in the Parliament earlier this week, is set to be debated on 29 January, with a vote on 30 January.

A total of six resolutions have been tabled by groups within the EU, including the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D), Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) (PPE), Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (Verts/ALE), European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR), Renew Europe Group (Renew) and European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) Group.

A separate grouping, which represents 66 Members of European Parliament (MEPs), has moved a sixth resolution that supports the Act but calls for an impartial probe into “excessive use of force by security forces” against anti-CAA protesters, reports The Indian Express.

The government bracing for six scathing resolutions on CAA and also includes Jammu and Kashmir reports The Hindu.

The resolutions have a similar theme with a number of them, such as the one tabled by the GUE/NGL Group, also making a reference to the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution that gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir. They are set to be debated in the European Parliament in Brussels next Wednesday and voted the day after.

The resolutions urge the Indian authorities to "engage constructively" with those protesting against the law and consider their demands to repeal the "discriminatory CAA". "The CAA marks a dangerous shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India and is set to create the largest statelessness crisis in the world and cause immense human suffering," according to the GUE/NGL resolution.

But who are these groups?

European People's Party (EPP)

The European People's Party (EPP) is the biggest European political party with conservative and liberal-conservative member parties. A transnational organisation, it is composed of other political parties, not individuals.

It was primarily founded by Christian Democratic parties in 1976 and has since broadened its membership to include liberal-conservative parties and parties with other centre-right political perspectives.

 Six groups from European Parliament move resolution against CAA, abrogation of Article 370: A look at their ideological leanings

File image of the European Parliament's debating chamber. Wikimedia Commons

The party is currently lead by its president, the former Prime Minister of Poland and President of the European Council, Donald Tusk.  It currently has 182 Members of the European Parliament and its chairman is the German MEP Manfred Weber.

In every election for the European Parliament candidates elected on lists of member parties of the EPP are obliged to join the EPP Group in the European Parliament. The EPP Group holds five of the fourteen vice-presidencies of the European Parliament

The EPP has been the largest party in the European Parliament since 1999 and in the European Council since 2002. It is also the largest party in the current European Commission. The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen is from the EPP. Many of the founding fathers of the European Union were also from parties that later formed the EPP.

Outside the EU the party also controls a majority in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

According to its official website, the party currently includes 84 parties and partners from 43 countries, the President of the European Commission, 10 EU and 3 non-EU heads of state and government, 10 members of the European Commission.

Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D)

The S&D is a Centre-Left group in the European Parliament of the Party of European Socialists (PES) and the second-largest group. It was officially founded as a Socialist Group on 29 June, 1953, making it the second oldest political group in the European Parliament after the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group (ALDE). It adopted its present name on 23 June, 2009. The group mostly comprises of social-democratic parties and is affiliated with the Progressive Alliance.

Until the 1999 European Parliament elections, it was the largest group in the Parliament, but since then it has always been the second-largest group. During the 8th EU Parliament Assembly, the S&D was the only Parliament group with representation from all 28 EU member states.

In the European Council, 8 out of 28 Heads of State and Government belong to the S&D Group and in the European Commission, 8 out of 28 Commissioners come from PES parties. The S&D Group is represented by 154 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) across 26 EU countries, who work in all parliamentary committees and interparliamentary delegations.

This group is currently lead by Iratxe García Pérez since 2019.

Renew Europe Group (Renew)

The liberal-centrist Renew Europe was created as the successor to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). The group holds 108 seats in Parliament, making it the third-largest group. Its members represent 22 EU countries.

Dacian Cioloș, a former Romanian prime minister, was elected president of the group in June 2019. This is his first term as an MEP. The group also has eight vice-presidents. This pro-EU group says it is strongly focused on addressing people's needs and finding EU solutions to European problems. One of its main focuses is to deliver on the promises set by the Paris climate agreement of 2015.

Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA)

The Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) is the political group of the European Parliament composed primarily of green and regionalist political parties. The group was formed in July 1999, when two progressive European political families agreed to join forces in the Parliament. The group has generally limited its membership to progressive parties.

At present, the group consists of three distinct European political parties, namely the larger European Green Party (EGP) and the European Free Alliance (EFA) and the smaller European Pirate Party. The EFA Group currently includes representatives from Scotland, Catalonia, Corsica, Wales and Latvia.

The Greens/EFA group increased its share of the vote during the last European elections and now has 74 seats, making it the fourth-largest political group in the European Parliament. Its members represent 16 EU countries.

The group has two co-presidents: Ska Keller, a German MEP first elected in 2009 and co-president since 2016, and Philippe Lamberts, a Belgian MEP who also entered the Parliament in 2009 and has been co-president since 2014.

The Green group strives to make Europe the global leader in terms of environmental protection, peace and social justice, globalisation, and guarantee human rights and equality for all. The group’s main focus is environmental as well as social justice. They want to tackle climate change through a green energy revolution.

European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR)

The conservative European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group was founded in 2009. It holds 62 seats in the European Parliament, giving it sixth place in terms of size among the seven political groups in the current legislature. Its members come from 15 EU countries.

The group has two co-chairs:  Polish MEP, Ryszard Legutko, who has been on the co-chair since 2017 and was elected for a third term in 2019, and Italy’s Raffaele Fitto, who was elected co-chair in June. He served as an MEP in 1999-2000 and again since 2014. The group has six vice-chairs.

This ECR group believes that Europe is in need of decentralisation and less bureaucracy. They also want to promote fair and free trade, economic recovery, growth and competitiveness as well as a reform of the EU's migration system.

European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)

The European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group was established in 1995 and is an alliance with left-wing, socialist and communist parties. The group has 41 members, which makes it the smallest group in the current European Parliament. Its members represent 14 EU countries.

GUE/NGL has two new co-presidents: France’s Manon Aubry, a first-time MEP, and Martin Schirdewan from Germany, who has been an MEP since 2017. The group also has four vice-presidents.

According to its 1994 constituent declaration, the group is opposed to the present European Union political structure, but it is committed to its integration. The group focuses on climate fairness, tax justice, workers’ rights and the enforcement of human rights.

The resolution moved by these six bodies makes a reference to the Charter of the United Nations, Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as well as the India-EU Strategic Partnership Joint Action Plan signed in November 2005, and to the EU-India Thematic Dialogue on Human Rights as it urges the Indian authorities to "engage constructively" with those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and consider their demands to repeal the "discriminatory CAA".

"The CAA marks a dangerous shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India and is set to create the largest statelessness crisis in the world and cause immense human suffering," it notes.

"Instead of addressing the concerns, offering corrective action, calling for security forces to act with restraint and ensuring accountability, many government leaders have been engaging in efforts to discredit, rebuke and threaten the protesters," the resolution states.

This move comes less than two months before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to travel to Brussels for the India-EU summit on 13 March and can impact the way EU member-nations engage with India.

Though there has been no official reaction from the government so far, sources from the external affairs ministry have reiterated the CAA is an “entirely internal” matter and that the law was adopted by due process and through democratic means in Parliament.

With inputs from PTI

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

Updated Date: Jan 27, 2020 14:26:57 IST