Guwahati, Friday, March 11, 2016
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EU delegation interacts with GU fraternity
Staff reporter
 GUWAHATI, March 10 - An eleven-member European Union (EU) delegation held an interaction with the students of the Gauhati University (GU) in the New Academic Building of the University on matters concerning electoral politics.

 According to a press release received here today, the questions put by the members of the delegation included the ones relating to the electorate in Assam amidst the cacophony of corruption against the issues concerning development and identity.

The other questions discussed during the session revolved around the chances of the contesting parties of Assam to win, the role of media during poll campaign, and the impact of youth and women’s participation. Since development was the desirable answer for most people, it was asked by the EU delegation members as to which party could effectively cater to the needs of the people.

The function was organised by the GU Political Science Department. The EU delegation was led by Anne Marchal, First Councillor, Head of Political Affairs, Delegation of the EU to India. The other members of the delegation included Stijn Mols, Laure Huberty, Christophe Meyenburg, Dr Istvan Pokoradi, Indrek Erikson, Christian Wagner, Anna Uggla, Seija Kinni, Beatriz Lorenzo, Benjamin Weize and Gilles Roduit.

Prof Nani Gopal Mahanta, Head of the GU Political Science Department, welcomed the diplomats and opened the floor for discussion. The GU Vice Chancellor, on an introductory note, pointed out the necessity of the University to play a robust role in international affairs. He asserted that the GU’s London-based overseas chapter of the Alumni Association has opened up vistas for broader coordination between Europe and the region.

Ann Merkel, the diplomat heading the delegation, in her speech highlighted the importance of State politics and Assembly elections and the duty of a diplomat to understand such dynamics.

The interactive session was followed by felicitation of the guests and a presentation on the EU, forwarded by Ann Merkel. She traced a brief history of the EU and the existential threat it faces today in the light of the refugee crisis and the referendum by Britain and the Eurozone crisis, which made Greece a household name sometime back.

From the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), the process of European integration has seen a long history aimed initially as a cushion for prevention of wars.

Questions today emerged on the future of EU and Merkel had to say that although the Brexit referendum is awaited with bated breath, the EU seeks stability. Merkel also called for educational exchanges between India and the EU.

After the presentation, questions were raised on India’s image through the EU lens, whether there exists any democratic deficit in the functioning of EU Parliament, the need to balance agriculture and industry preference in EU policies, whether multiculturalism was facing a threat in Europe and the feasibility of a common currency in the form of the Euro.

Merkel and a few other diplomats answered the questions raised by Prof Nani Gopal Mahanta. According to them, democratic deficit is not the operational way in the European Parliament and stray terror attacks do not necessarily undermine multiculturalism in Europe. As for an effective attention due to agricultural issues, the EU has in place a common agricultural policy and the Euro’s future is as uncertain as that of any currency in the world today.

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