There has been some discussion going on in recent days about Angela Merkel’s proposal for a special partnership between the EU and Turkey. In the Turkish case I don’t agree with this (I favour full membership), but India, well that would be as they say ‘another country’.
Well, Tony Blair has been in India. In fact he has been there in the role of EU President, and as a representative of British interests, which I think must be a pretty hard juggling act.
Britain is in fact the third largest investor on India, with the rest of the EU much slower to get off the ground. Obviously historic ties matter here.
EU Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso was also there (although a quick search through Google news seems to suggest that only the Indian press noticed this). He was there to endorse a 17 page action plan aimed at launching a strategic partnership between the EU and India.
“Based on our joint values, on our shared commitment to freedom and democracy, we will forge an ever closer relationship,” he is quoted as saying. I certainly hope so.
One thorny question probably made Blair’s visit an even more thorny issue: the question of India getting a permanent seat on the UN security council. This seems to me to be so desireable that I am at a loss to understand what could be the serious objcetions, nonetheless it appears many EU states still entertain them.
Finally, one point of clarification: the partnership I am proposing should in no sense be considered an ethnic one (the Basques among others are not Indo-europeans, nor are many of the ‘new Europeans’). It is simply what it says, a proposal for a partnership between the EU and India.