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Posted: November 29, 2007
EU-India summit: setting the path for partnership
(Nanowerk News) The 8th EU-India Summit will take place on November 30, 2007 in New Delhi. This year's Summit will confirm in many respects the strengthening of EU-India relations: on the agenda are issues like trade, energy, climate change, WTO talks, as well as regional issues such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Africa, the Middle East, and Pakistan.
It is expected that the two sides will sign the renewal of their cooperation agreement on science and technology as well as a Memorandum of Understanding on EC- India development cooperation 2007 - 2010 amounting to 260 million euro covering health, education, civil aviation and academic and cultural cooperation.
In addition, the EC will also be providing 7 million euro for the creation of a European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC) in New Delhi to foster links between the business and scientific communities from both sides.
On November 29, in the margins of the Summit, the EU-India Business summit will take place. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and José Socrates, Prime Minister of Portugal and currently holding the EU Presidency, will meet with Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh. Commissioner for Trade, Peter Mandelson will also participate in the Summit.
On the eve of the Summit, President Barroso said: "The EU continues to be India's foremost trading partner and biggest foreign investor. We want EU-India trade to reach its potential. And the conclusion of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement will certainly boost bilateral trade.
Our political dialogue now ranges from energy and environment to transport and employment, and we expect significant progress in fields such as civil aviation, maritime transport and renewable energy. By joining efforts, the EU and India, the world's two largest democracies, can have a great impact in addressing global challenges such as peace and security, governance and climate change."
Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, adds: "India has enormous potential as a global player as well as an important partner in the region. Recognising India´s economic transition, we can now focus our development cooperation programmes providing support for its efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals. For this two-fold approach we have earmarked €470 million for new cooperation projects from 2007 to 2013."
Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said: "The EU and India have made good progress so far in our FTA negotiations. It is still early days though, and we need to use the momentum we have to put initial offers on the table that show a high level of ambition, and allow us to move forward credibly and constructively."
India-EU bilateral relations have progressed from trade in goods mostly in traditional sectors, and development and economic cooperation until the 1990s, into a "Strategic Partnership'. Today, in addition to core trade, investment and cooperation issues, the relationship includes policy dialogues on a constantly increasing number of sectors such as energy and environment, climate change, and culture, exchanges at civil society level and between parliamentarians.
The EU continues to be India's main trading partner accounting for one-fifth of her total trade as well as the biggest source of actual foreign direct investment into India. Bilateral trade in goods touched 46 billion euros in 2006. The EU is also one of India's leading partners in development and economic cooperation.
The two countries cooperate regularly at the multilateral level whether at the UN or the WTO. The EU supports the efforts towards regional cooperation in South Asia under the aegis of SAARC. India has also recently joined the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) which provides a new forum for the two sides to work together on issues of mutual interest and concern.
Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology is growing rapidly. Currently new joint cooperation initiatives are being launched in the field of environment, energy, materials, nanotechnology, agriculture and biotechnology.