The 12th EU-India Summit will be held February 10, 2012 in New Delhi, with economic cooperation, on the agenda, as well as other issues such as energy, Iran and security.
The EU will be represented by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will also be present. India will be represented by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
Consultations are expected to focus on the EU-India economic cooperation, in particular the ongoing Free Trade Agreement negotiations as well as the bilateral collaboration in the energy field. A joint declaration on energy cooperation is due to be adopted.
Talks will also focus on intensified cooperation in the area of research and innovation. Leaders will endorse a joint declaration on this issue.
Leaders will discuss cooperation in the security sphere and are expected to encourage their services to finalise and implement activities identified in expert meetings held in the areas of counter-terrorism, cyber-security and counter-piracy.
Finally, a memorandum of understanding on statistical cooperation will be signed so as to facilitate exchanges on statistical information and methods.
Under this cluster, leaders are expected to discuss developments in India’s neighbourhood (in particular Afghanistan and Pakistan) as well as in North Africa and the Middle East. The Iranian nuclear programme will also be on the agenda.
Nevertheless, the main focus of discussions will be on the global economic governance and the G20 process. Leaders will discuss domestic and global economic developments.
EU-India relations date back to the early 1960s when diplomatic relations were established. It was however the 1994 Cooperation Agreement (which is still the current legal framework for cooperation) that opened the door to the broad political dialogue that has since evolved, notably through annual summits since 2000, and through regular ministerial and expert-level meetings.
In recognition of both sides’ political and economic importance the EU-India strategic partnership was created in 2004 to enable the partners to better address complex international issues in the context of globalisation. To underpin the strategic partnership, leaders at the 2005 summit adopted the EU-India Joint Action Plan (JAP) which defined common objectives and proposed a wide range of supporting activities in the areas of political, economic, and development cooperation.
The Joint Action Plan was reviewed at the 2008 summit and has since focused on promoting four priorities: peace and comprehensive security, sustainable development, research and technology, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges.
Besides ministerial and expert level meetings, the EU and the Republic of India hold regular annual summits. The previous EU-India Summit was held in Brussels on 10 December 2010.
Main Areas of EU-India cooperation
Essential political areas of cooperation are the fight against terrorism, non-proliferation, crisis management, security, in particular on anti-piracy (cooperation in operation “Atalanta” to fight piracy off the Somali coast), peace building and peace keeping and regional issues within the South Asian region.
Human rights issues are addressed in the EU-India Human Rights Dialogue held in Delhi on an annual basis.
EU-India trade relations have progressed tremendously over the last years. India ranked 8th in the list of the EU’s main trading partners in 2010, up from 15th in 2002.
The EU is India’s largest trading partner accounting for approximately € 86 billion in trade in goods and services in 2010. Bilateral trade in goods alone rose by 20% between 2010 and 2011. The EU accounted for 19% of India’s total exports and 14% of India’s total imports in 2010. On the other hand, India accounts for 2.6% of EU’s total exports and 2.2% of the EU’s total imports.
The EU has been the biggest investor in India with a cumulative volume of about € 20.0 billion since 2000. However, there is still much potential for trade growth.
The completion of the Free Trade Agreement negotiations is a strategic objective for the EU and India. Aiming to boost trade in goods and services, negotiations started in 2007. Several rounds of consultations have been held until now; therefore leaders are also expected to review progress during the summit.
In addition to annual summit meetings, trade subjects are regularly discussed in fora such as: the senior-official level joint Commission, the sub-commission on trade and a series of working groups dealing with the issues of barriers to trade, agricultural or industrial policy.
Climate change and energy
The European Union supports India’s efforts to promote sustainable growth. In order to deepen cooperation in the environmental area, India and the EU launched in 2008 the Joint Work Programme on Clean Development and Climate Change.
Follow-up activities were confirmed at the summit in November 2009, when the EU and India agreed to expedite cooperation activities on climate change mitigation, clean energy, energy efficiency and renewable energy, in particular solar energy.
A declaration on enhanced cooperation on energy is to be endorsed at the upcoming summit. It will pave the way for future joint activities in the areas of clean coal, energy efficiency of products, energy efficiency in the buildings’ sector, smart power grids, renewable energy as well as nuclear safety and off-shore drilling safety.
Science and technology
Science and technology represents a central element in the EU-India strategic partnership. Research cooperation started in the mid-80s and the first science and technology cooperation agreement was signed in 2001 and extended in 2009.
India has become the fourth largest international partner for the EU under the 7th EU Framework Programme for science and technological development (2007-2013). Indian organisations are participating in research projects in various technological areas of which health, environment, food, agriculture, biotechnologies and ICT are the most prominent. India has become a full partner in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) nuclear fusion project.
A joint EU-India call for proposals on solar energy research was launched in 2009 with €5 million contributions from each side.
A new pilot initiative, the strategic forum for international S&T cooperation (SFIC), aims at making Europe’s international research policy towards non-EU countries more effective and coherent through enhanced dialogue and cooperation between the European Commission, EU member states and our major partner countries outside Europe. The SFIC has chosen India as strategic partner country with which to start implementing its first pilot initiative.