Tuesday, October 4, 2011


India-EU relations go back to the early 1960s. India was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the (then) European Economic Community (EEC). The 1994 cooperation agreement signed between EU and India took bilateral relations well beyond trade and economic cooperation. The 5th India-EU Summit at The Hague in 2004 endorsed the EU’s proposal to upgrade its relationship with India to a ‘Strategic Partnership’. The two sides also adopted a Joint Action Plan in 2005 which provides for Strengthening Dialogue and Consultation mechanisms; Deepening political dialogue and cooperation; Bringing together People and Cultures; Enhancing Economic Policy Dialogue and Cooperation; and Developing Trade and Investment.

Rashtrapatiji visited Strasbourg from 25-26 April 2007 at the invitation of the President of the European Parliament (EP). During the visit, he addressed the Parliament and met with the President of the European Parliament. Members of the India Delegation of the EP, Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner of enterprise and Industry called on him. It was the first ever visit by a President of India to the EP.

The 11th India-EU Summit was held in Brussels on 10 December 2010. This was the first Summit after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. India was represented by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and the EU was represented by Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and Mr. Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. From the EU side, this was the first time that the President of European Council conducted the meeting along with President Barosso and not the head of the state or government of the rotating Presidency of the EU reflecting the changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty. The Summit reviewed India-EU Relations: stressed the importance of an ambitious and balanced conclusion of the India-EU Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) in the spring of 2011; welcomed the increasing cooperation in the field of security and defence; and issued a Joint Declaration on  International Terrorism. An India-EU Joint Declaration on Culture was also signed during the Summit. In the Joint Statement issued by the two leaders, it was agreed to present the results of the 2008 Joint Work Programme on Energy, Clean Development and Climate Change at the next India-EU Summit in 2011. The Joint Statement also called for an early conclusion of the India-EU Agreement for Research and Development Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy; a swift finalization of the agreement on satellite navigation initialed in 2005; and an early implementation of the civil aviation agreement.

India and the EU also interact regularly at the Foreign Ministers level. The 21st India-EU Ministerial Meeting took place in New Delhi on 22 June 2010. External Affairs Minister Shri S.M. Krishna led the Indian delegation. The EU side was led EU High Representative Ms. Catherine Ashton. India-EU Relations, regional issues both around Europe and India and global issues including climate change, terrorism, global financial crisis and energy security were discussed at the Ministerial Meeting.

There is a regular mechanism of Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) between India and the EU. Nineteen SOMs have been held till date. The last meeting took place on 21 October, 2010 in Brussels. 

The European Parliament (EP) has established a India Delegation in the European Parliament which has 20 members and 20 substitute in the delegation. Mr. Graham Watson, British MEP is the current Chairperson and an EP India Delegation led by him visited India at the end of April, 2010.

The EU, as a bloc of 27 countries, is India’s largest trading partner while India was EU’s 8th largest trading partner in 2009. The total bilateral trade increased by 28% to Euros 67.78 billion in 2010 compared to Euros 53.03 billion in 2009 (Indian exports of Euros 32.99 billion and Indian imports of Euros 34.79 billion). In 2010, total Indian exports to the EU in different services sector were Euros 8.1 billion whereas total Indian services imports from the EU were Euros 9.8 billion.

The EU is one of the largest sources of FDI for India. FDI inflows from the EU to India declined from Euro 3.4 billion in 2009 to Euro 3.0 billion in 2010. India’s investment into EU has also seen a marginal decline from Euros 0.9 billion in 2009 to Euros 0.6 billion in 2010. The most important countries in the EU for FDI into India are Germany, UK, France and Italy.

India and the EU have held thirteen rounds of negotiations for a bilateral Broadbased Trade and Investment Agreement. Negotiations commenced in 2007 and cover Trade in goods, Sanitary & Phyto-sanitary Measures and Technical Barriers to Trade, Trade in services, Investment, Intellectual Property Rights and Geographical Indications, Competition Policy, Customs and Trade Facilitation, Trade Defence, Dispute Settlement. The last round of negotiations took place in New Delhi from 31 March to 5 April 2011.

The India-EU Joint Commission and its three sub-commission on trade, economic cooperation and development cooperation meets annually. The Sub Commission on Trade had its last meeting in Brussels on 12 July 2011; the Sub Commission on Economic Cooperation had its last meeting in Brussels on 13 July 2011; and Sub-Commission on Development Cooperation met in New Delhi on 4 May 2011. India and EU have set up an Energy Panel which also meets annually, the last meeting having been held in Brussels on 6 October 2009.

In addition, both sides have set up Joint Working Groups/ Joint Committee on Counter Terrorism, the last meeting of which was held in New Delhi on 11 June 2009; Consular Issues, which met last in New Delhi on 25 May 2009; Agriculture and Marine Products, Energy, which had its last meeting in New Delhi on 19 May 2011; Coal, which met last in New Delhi on 5 April 2011; Environment, which last met on 4 Dec 2009 in Brussels; Technical Barriers to Trade and Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary Issues, which met last through video conferencing on 7 July 2011; Information Technology & Communications, which met last on 26-27 Mar 2009 in Brussels; Textiles, which met last on 22 November 2005 in Brussels; Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology, which met on 21-22 Sept 2009 in New Delhi; Food Processing Industries, which had its last meeting in Brussels on 24 November 2006; and Customs Cooperation, which met last in New Delhi on 12 November 2009.

Both sides also have regular dialogues on Security (last dialogue held in New Delhi on 18 June, 2011), Human Rights (last dialogue held in New Delhi on 22 March, 2011), Macro-economy (last meeting held in New Delhi on 16-17 May 2011) and Science and Technology (last meeting held on 1 April 2011 in Brussels).

India and the EU have signed bilateral agreements which includes cooperation in the field of Science & Technology in 2001 which was renewed in 2007; Joint Vision Statement for promoting cooperation in the field of information and communications technology in 2001; customs cooperation agreement in 2004; Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on Employment and Social Affairs in November 2006; Horizontal Civil Aviation Agreement in 2008; Joint Declaration in field of Education in 2008; Joint Declaration on Multilingualism in March 2009 and Agreement in the field of nuclear fusion energy research in November 2009 and Joint Declaration on Culture in December 2010. As mentioned earlier, India and EU are also currently negotiating the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement, the last round of negotiations held in
New Delhi on 31 March – 5 April 2011.

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