16th EU-India summit on April 16, 2015 “cancelled by the EU”
Promotion of hazardous waste trade by linguistic corruption will have catastrophic environmental and occupational health consequences
The correspondence between European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with India and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy has revealed that the scheduled 16th EU-India summit on April 16, 2015 has been cancelled by the EU. The first India-EU Summit took place in Lisbon in June 2000. The last engagement between both sides was held in May 2013 in New Delhi. There were few statements from both Indian and EU officials expressing keen interest to revive the talks. The 12th Summit in New Delhi on February 10 2012 was the first Summit to be held in India after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. The EU as a bloc of 28 countries is India’s largest trading partner.
India and the EU have signed a number of bilateral agreements and MoUs including Science & Technology Agreement, Joint Vision Statement for promoting Cooperation in the field of Information and Communications Technology and Joint Declaration on Enhanced Cooperation in Energy.
Disregarding the opposition to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in insurance sector, government of India promulgated an ordinance approving hike in FDI cap in the insurance sector from 26 per cent to 49 per cent December 2014. This was one of the main demands of the EU in FTA negotiations. Social movements, political parties, trade unions and cooperatives are opposed to the FTA.
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) has been opposing it for its promotion of hazardous waste trade by defining waste as non-new good. Although as of January 2015, 182 states including India and the European Union are parties to the UN’s Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal such EU-India FTA and other such FTAs are undermining the Convention. The EU fully implemented the Basel Ban amendment –that attempted to end the exploitation of the weaker regulations and infrastructure of poorer countries to avoid the responsibility for minimizing waste and hazards in richer countries- in its Waste Shipment Regulation, making it legally binding in all EU member states. India is yet to ratify Basel Ban and incorporate it in its law although its support was implicit in the support Group of 77 gave to the amendment.
Under the influence of international recyclers EU apparently revised its position and in a manifest inconsistency it supports ban on export of old toxic computers (e-waste) from the EU to a developing countries like India but it approves of old end-of-life ships full of asbestos and Persistent Organic Pollutants for such export. EU-India FTA facilitated such inconsistencies. Unless India bans hazardous waste, India will be faced with catastrophic environmental and occupational health consequences because "like water running downhill, hazardous wastes invariably will be disposed of along the path of least resistance and least expense” in a situation where Indi does not have the health infrastructure to deal with environmental and occupational diseases.
Notably, a study by Cornell University estimated that 62 million deaths per year (40 % of all deaths) can be attributed to environmental factors, particularly organic and chemical pollutants that accumulate in the air and the water.
For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 08227816731, 09818089660, E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: www.toxicswatch.org