INDO-EU SUMMIT 2021

After 8 years, India and European Union are set to resume the negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement as discussed in the Summit with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, and 27 other Leaders of the European Union on 8th May 2021. This was the historic meeting since it was the second time that the EU was holding a summit with any country, the first was held in March this year with US President Joe Bidden.


India and European Union started their diplomatic Relationship in the 1960s, the Joint Political Statement of 1993 and 1994 were the foundational agreements for both of them. The breakthrough came in the year 2004 when both of the parties decided to sign a strategic partnership to improve international cooperation. The first Joint Action Plan came into existence in the year 2005, focusing on Free Trade Agreement and after all the negotiations it was implemented in June 2007.

Despite having good relations both of them substantially lost their glory in 2012, when two Italian marines were arrested by the Kerala Police for shooting dead two Kerala fishermen, which not only increased tensions between Italy and India but also affected the Strategic Relations between India and EU. These tensions led to the setback of the alliance since it can be seen lack of interest in the agreement by both of the parties. But despite the roadblock in 2013 on the Strategic Agreement for Sustainable Development, it has not affected the trade that much. EU was India’s largest trade partner between 2015 & 2016 witnessing 12.5% total trade and also Indo-EU bilateral trade (excluding services trade) stood at US$104.3 billion in the financial year 2018–19.



In recent years there have been a lot of mutual collaborations between Indo-EU. Both India and the EU have emphasized maritime security, In 2021 they hosted the first Maritime Security Dialogue. Both of them also focused on the issue of Climate change and Pollution Control, and also committed to International Agreements such as Kyoto Protocol and the Paris agreement, since they are the third and fourth-largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Climate Change also was one of the key topics at the 15th Indo-EU summit in 2020, there have been a lot of projects undertaken by both of them to tackle the situation. Other than this, the EU has also granted loans to India through European Investment Bank for metro projects for Lucknow, Pune, and Bangalore comprising a total of $1.9 billion. Moreover, the key area of development cooperation is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, both of them are working very closely on SDGs. Overall, it can be seen these recent developments open future opportunities between India and the EU to formulate and make policies for the various global challenges.



The recent Indo-EU summit was the first-ever summit comprising of India and all the 27 members of the European Union, where the leaders praised and thanked India for supporting medical supplies last year when the European Union was battling with the pandemic and also shown concern and support to India for the recent crisis due to pandemic especially by French President Emmanuel Macron who said India did not need to "listen to lectures from anyone" and highlighted that India has "exported a lot for vaccines for humanity". The main focus of the summit was to resume negotiations for the free trade agreement which will include an investment protection pact as well as a framework on the geographical indication.


Recently on the 24th of April, Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany said that the EU allowed India to become World’s Pharma, she was also present at the Summit but deep inside everyone knows that since the 2000s Germany has lost their position and India has worked hard on the Pharma sector to become World’s Pharmacy. Other than this Indian Prime Minister also appealed to the EU to support India and South Africa for the trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) waiver for Covid treatments and vaccination. Last week the US President also supported the waiver but France and Germany opposed the idea, hopefully, after this summit, we can come up with a conclusive decision to fight this global pandemic and to fasten the vaccination.





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