Strengthening EU-India strategic partnership

At their summit, the leaders discussed global cooperation to protect lives and to develop a vaccine, and to mitigate the Covid-19 consequences

Strategic partnership, trade relations, climate, digital shift, fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, and regional and security issues were the key items on the plate during the 15th summit between India and the EU, held on Wednesday via video conference. The EU was represented by Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, EC President and India was represented by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

Today's meeting clearly showed that both the EU and India want a stronger strategic relationship for the future. India can count on the European Union. And we count on India to be a key partner, President Michel stressed after the summit.

He also underlined that as power dynamics shift across the globe, the EU wants to play a stronger role in the region, and as a global actor. Today's substantive dialogue with India will reinforce these strategic goals, he noted.

We agreed that we will be able to convene a specific Climate Change Dialogue – this is a nice deliverable of this Summit – to discuss how to strengthen our cooperation in the area of solar power, in the area of offshore wind energy, resource-efficiency and, of course, the circular economy, President von der Leyen underlined at the news conference. She also explained that the cooperation with India in the area of digital technologies is already flourishing, but there is still a huge potential for stronger cooperation.

In a joint statement, leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the EU-India strategic partnership, based on shared principles and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law, and respect for human rights, and aiming at delivering concrete benefits for the people in the EU and India.

They adopted a common roadmap to guide their joint action over the next five years and a joint declaration on resource efficiency and circular economy.

The EU is India's largest trade and investment partner, but India represents only about 2% of EU external trade.

Both sides agreed to further develop their trade and investment relations and to establish a regular high level dialogue at ministerial level to enhance conditions for traders and investors.

The EU and India will also enhance their partnership in support of sustainable modernisation by boosting cooperation to support clean energy transition, resource efficiency and circular economy.

The Euratom-India agreement, signed during the sitting, will embolden cooperation on research and development for peaceful nuclear energy. They also discussed digital economy and connectivity, focusing on human-centric and inclusive digitalisation and sustainable, rules-based approach to connectivity.

They agreed to explore concrete initiatives, including a possible future comprehensive connectivity partnership between the EU and India and to seek synergies with third countries including in the Indo-Pacific region.

During the talks, the partners encouraged cultural exchanges and educational cooperation between India and the EU and welcomed active people-to-people exchanges including among students, researchers, professionals, business persons and tourists as part of the implementation of the joint declaration on common agenda on migration and mobility.

Concerning the Covid-19, they discussed global cooperation and solidarity to protect lives, to develop a vaccine, to mitigate the socio-economic consequences and to strengthen preparedness and response capacities. The leaders emphasised the importance of sharing information in a free, transparent and prompt manner, and of improving international response including through relevant international organisations, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), drawing on lessons learned from the current global responses, as their joint statement reads.

On climate change, leaders stressed their commitment to the Paris Agreement  welcomed the ongoing cooperation between the EU and India under the Clean Energy and Climate Partnership and agreed to step up cooperation on its implementation. The EU is a partner of India's sustainable modernisation, including through investments by the European Investment Bank, over €4bn.


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