The European Union and India: Partners in Democracy Promotion?

Patryk Kugiel
Content Type
Working Paper
The Polish Institute of International Affairs
The Arab Spring has reinvigorated discussions about strengthening the EU's democratisation efforts. In this context, one may consider whether India could be an attractive partner for the EU in democracy promotion in Asia and elsewhere. It is not only the world's largest democracy but also a “strategic partner” of the EU, and it is willing to strengthen cooperation on regional and global levels. Shared values and adherence to democracy were seen as natural common ground for closer cooperation since the EU and India took on strategic cooperation in 2000. As early as the second EU–India Summit in 2001, both sides agreed to “step up efforts to promote democracy and to address human-rights issues at the international and bilateral levels”. In 2003, they reiterated their commitment to “work together to promote pluralistic democracy in the world by laying special emphasis on democratic policies and practice“. A special section on “Democracy and Human Rights” was included in a major document on a strategic partnership signed in 2005 in which both sides committed to “look together for possible synergies and initiatives to promote human rights and democracy”.Since then, however, democratisation has been silenced from the ongoing dialogue, and not many examples of the practical implementation of those aims can be found. In fact, democracy seems to have become more often a point of friction between the two than an area for cooperation.
Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
Political Geography
Europe, India, Asia, Arabia