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EU-India leaders' meeting via video conference, Porto, 8 mei 2021

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Kevin Bergenhenegouwen

Main results

The leaders of the world's two largest democracies met via video conference on 8 May 2021.

The EU was represented by the heads of state or government of the 27 EU member states, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, gathered in Porto.

India was represented by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, who joined EU leaders via video conference.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, also participated in the meeting.

At the end of the meeting the leaders adopted a comprehensive joint statement.

The meeting reinforced the EU-India strategic partnership, which is underpinned by the shared values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights.

The leaders agreed to resume free trade negotiations and start negotiations on two additional trade agreements. They also launched a new connectivity partnership.

Today we showed the strength of the EU-India relationship and its great potential.

President Charles Michel

The EU and India are fighting the pandemic together

Building global health preparedness and resilience

The EU leaders expressed their full solidarity with India in the light of an unprecedented new wave of COVID-19 infections in the country. Through the Team Europe approach, EU member states had mobilised ahead of the meeting more than €100 million worth of emergency equipment - oxygen, ventilators and medication - for India's COVID-19 response.

The EU and India support universal, safe, equitable and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines, diagnosis and treatment. Recognising extensive immunisation as a global public good, the leaders stressed that the vaccination process is not a race between countries but a race against time.

The leaders welcomed the EU’s and its member states’ contribution to vaccines’ production and their substantial support for the COVAX Facility. They also welcomed India’s efforts to produce and distribute COVID-19 vaccines to over 90 countries through its ‘Vaccine Maitri’.

The EU and India committed to advancing global health security, including by strengthening the World Health Organization’s (WHO) preparedness for and response to health emergencies, and by reforming the WHO.

The EU invited India to work towards an international treaty on pandemics within the framework of the WHO.

Infographic - EU-India trade relations

Zie volledige infographic

New impetus for EU-India trade

The EU is one of India's largest trading partners and foreign investors. The meeting generated fresh momentum for bilateral trade relations.

The leaders agreed to:

  • resume negotiations on a balanced, ambitious, comprehensive and mutually beneficial free trade agreement
  • find quick solutions to long-standing market access issues
  • launch negotiations on a stand-alone investment protection agreement
  • start negotiations on an agreement on geographical indicators

The EU and India will also enhance coordination on global economic governance, notably in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and in the G20. They agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation on the reform of the WTO ahead of the WTO ministerial conference in November.

Protecting our planet and fostering green growth

The leaders highlighted the need to urgently address the interdependent challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. They committed to contributing to the success of the upcoming Biodiversity COP15, Climate COP26 and the second UN Ocean Conference.

The leaders also stressed the importance of achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and acknowledged each side's leadership and progress.

The leaders looked forward to a new work programme for the EU-India Clean Energy and Climate Partnership. The goal is to deepen cooperation to speed up the deployment of renewable energy, promote energy efficiency, collaborate on smart grid and storage technology, and modernise the electricity market.

Other joint efforts to promote green growth and a sustainable modernisation of the economy include decarbonising industry and transport and accelerating the implementation of the new circular economy and resource efficiency partnership.

Launch of a connectivity partnership

The leaders adopted a new partnership for transparent, inclusive, and rules-based connectivity between the EU and India and with third countries and regions (including Africa, Central Asia and the Indo-Pacific).

The goal is to work together on regulation and support for private investments in high-standard physical infrastructure across all sectors: digital, transport, energy, and people-to-people.

The EU and India will seek to foster exchanges between Europeans and Indians and create partnerships between the EU's and India's public and private sectors.

The connectivity partnership is a major project that will promote high-standard infrastructure for sustainable and resilient economic growth, and foster exchanges between our people.

President Charles Michel

India is the second country (after Japan) with which the EU has concluded a Connectivity Partnership.

Digital transformation

The digital transformation has the potential to create quality jobs and improve citizens' lives. The leaders welcomed the close cooperation on global digital standards and agreed to enhance it further, including in relation to, and beyond, 5G.

The leaders also agreed to continue enhancing convergences between the EU and India regulatory frameworks and to ensure a high level of protection of personal data and privacy.

They looked forward to launching the work of the Joint Task Force on Artificial Intelligence.

Human rights

The EU and India reaffirmed their strong commitment to all human rights, gender equality and women's empowerment.

The leaders are committed to the EU-India human rights dialogue, with the next meeting scheduled for 2022.

They also agreed to intensify cooperation in international human rights fora, in particular the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council.

Human rights, gender equality, and equal opportunities are at the heart of our engagement with India.

President Charles Michel

Foreign and security affairs

The leaders welcomed the recent strengthening of EU-India cooperation on international security, including on non-proliferation and disarmament, countering terrorism, radicalisation and violent extremism, maritime security, and on cyber and other threats.

The EU and India highlighted their commitment to the comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council, to make it more effective, transparent, representative and accountable, in order to reflect contemporary realities.

The leaders emphasised their commitment to a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific space. This should be based on respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, democracy, rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce, and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

In this context, the leaders welcomed the recent adoption of the EU's strategy for cooperation with the Indo-Pacific and agreed to strengthen EU-India cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, including in the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and in relevant regional fora.

The EU and India will also enhance their cooperation with African partners to support a prosperous, peaceful, democratic and resilient Africa.

Background

Previous EU-India Summit

The previous EU-India summit was held on 15 July 2020, via video conference. EU and India leaders adopted a joint statement, a five-year roadmap for the EU-India Strategic Partnership and a joint declaration on resource efficiency and circular economy.

At the 2020 summit, the leaders called for the COVID-19 vaccine to become a global common good. They also agreed to intensify cooperation on health security and pandemic crisis preparedness and response, while ramping up manufacturing and continuing supply chains of vital medical supplies.

The leaders agreed to keep the global trading system open and to further develop their trade and investment relations to unleash their full potential, particularly in the context of post-COVID19 economic recovery.

European Investment Bank (EIB)

On the day before the leaders' meeting, the EIB announced three new measures to support India's COVID-19 recovery:


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