EU – India Summit in Brussels

The 13th Summit between the European Union and India took place in Brussels on 30 March 2016. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, participated in the Summit.

The EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini, and the Minister of Commerce and Industry of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, also attended.

The leaders reconfirmed their commitment to give new momentum to the bilateral relationship endorsing the EU-India Agenda for Action 2020 as a common roadmap to jointly guide and strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership in the next five years. The agenda further builds on the shared objectives and outcomes of the Joint Action Plans of 2005 and 2008. It encompasses a wide range of areas for cooperation such as foreign and security policy, trade and investment, economy, global issues as well as people to people contacts.

The leaders strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Brussels on 22 March 2016 as an unacceptable affront to our open democratic societies and extended their deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims. The EU and India confirmed their commitment to remain united and firm in the fight against hatred, violent extremism and terrorism by adopting a joint declaration on Counter Terrorism. It aims to step up the EU-India cooperation to counter extremism and radicalisation, stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters and curb sources of terrorist financing and arms supply.

Both sides decided to further strengthen the EU-India economic partnership. The EU’s Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change and India’s “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” – (“Collective Efforts, Inclusive Growth”) initiatives create new opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation between people and businesses on both sides. The leaders welcomed that both sides have re-engaged in discussions on how to further the EU-India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) negotiations. The EU is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for 13% of India’s overall trade (in 2015 the total value of EU-India trade in goods reached €77.5 billion) and also first foreign investor. The EU welcomed India’s readiness to establish a mechanism to facilitate investments of all EU Member States in India.

The leaders welcomed the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) commitment to support long-term investment in infrastructure crucial for environmentally sustainable, social and economic development in India, and in particular the EIB’s loan of €450 million in the construction of the first metro line in the city of Lucknow. The EIB and the Government of India signed a first tranche of €200 million. The leaders also welcomed the announcement by the EIB of the upcoming establishment in New Delhi of the Bank’s regional representation for South Asia.

The EU and India decided to step up their cooperation to fight climate change and adopted the ‘Joint Declaration between the EU and India on a Clean Energy and Climate Partnership’.

It is key to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and will trigger a renewed climate dialogue with India. It intends to reinforce energy cooperation, mainly on renewable energy sources, promote clean energy generation and increased energy efficiency.

The EU and India agreed to address environmental challenges and work together towards sustainable development enhancing cooperation on environment issues. The ‘Joint Declaration by the European Union and the Republic of India on Indo-European Water Partnership’ adopted at the Summit foresees strengthening technological, scientific and management capabilities in the field of water management and supports the Indian ‘Clean Ganga’ and ‘Clean India’ flagship projects.

Establishment of the Clean Energy and Climate Partnership as well as the Indo-European Water Partnership will bring together representatives of relevant stakeholders, including interested EU Member States and Indian States, European and Indian institutions, businesses and civil society creating business and technology opportunities between the EU and India.

The EU and India have also agreed to intensify their cooperation on research and innovation particularly addressing current global challenges including Health. The statement highlights the extension of the India-EU Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement until 2020 and setting up of mechanisms for jointly financing research and innovation projects. The leaders also encouraged increasing links between the ‘Digital India’ initiative and the EU’s ‘Digital Single Market’ through enhanced cooperation in cyber security, ICT standardisation, Internet Governance, research and innovation.

The leaders also endorsed the establishment of the Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM) between the EU and India, reflecting the importance of India as a strategic partner for the EU in the field of migration and mobility. The CAMM, as a framework for cooperation, is the start of a longer term process which will lead to deeper cooperation and solid mutual engagement on migration, a key global policy area. The CAMM addresses four pillars in a balanced manner: better organised regular migration and the fostering of well-managed mobility; prevention of irregular migration and trafficking in human beings; maximising the development impact of migration and mobility; and the promotion of international protection.

Both sides expressed their commitment to step up foreign policy and security cooperation. They discussed the latest developments in the EU’s and India’s respective neighbourhoods.

In particular, the EU and India support the on-going efforts towards an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of peace and reconciliation, leading to an environment free of violence and terror. In this context they looked forward to the Brussels Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan on 5 October 2016 with a view to renew a framework for international partnership and cooperation until 2020. They expressed their support to enhanced and broad-based regional cooperation in South Asia.

The leaders expressed deep concern about the situation in the Middle East hoping that intra-Syrian talks, under the UN auspices, will ensure a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition, bringing an end to the violence in Syria.

The leaders strongly supported a diplomatic solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine through the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements by all parties in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2202 (2015).

The Summit was an opportunity for the leaders also to discuss human rights issues, the ongoing international arbitration under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in regard to the case of two Italian marines, as well as the case of fourteen Estonian and six UK Guards sentenced to prison by an Indian court.

The Leaders reaffirmed the G20’s key role in achieving strong, sustainable and balanced growth to the benefit of citizens and recognised the importance of implementing the comprehensive agenda adopted at the G-20 Summit of November 2015.

The leaders also agreed to start a dialogue on swift implementationof the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development and of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

Photo (From left to right): Jean-Claude JUNCKER, President of the European Commission; Narendra MODI, Prime Minister of India; Donald TUSK, President of the European Council.