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Brussels, 5 November 2009

The EU -India Summit to focus on climate change, energy and trade

The European Union and India will hold their annual summit on the 6 th of November in New Delhi. The Commission’s delegation will be led by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, who will be accompanied by Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, as well as Catherine Ashton, Commissioner for Trade. This Summit will address major global issues such as climate change, energy security and fight against terrorism, besides regional issues. Furthermore, leaders will address questions of the international response to the global financial crisis as well as the reform of international financial institutions following the G20-Pittsburgh meeting. The Summit will underline the joint commitment to achieve progress in the negotiations on a bilateral trade and investment agreement. At this occasion, Euratom and India will sign a research agreement in the field of fusion energy. The European Commission and India recently launched a € 10 Mio joint call for proposals for research in the field of solar energy.

At the eve of the Summit, Mr. Barroso said: “In the past decade, the EU and India have evolve d to become key actors on the world stage. The dynamic strategic partnership we have forged over the years is a sign of strong commitment and mutual understanding to contribute together to global solutions to global challenges, from peace, security and development aid to the fight against climate change. By agreeing a position on climate finance last Friday in Brussels, the EU is signalling that we are ready to help if developing countries and, in particular, emerging economies like India deliver.

Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner added: “ Both climate change and energy will figure prominently on this year's summit agenda. Our joint efforts towards a low carbon economy will be translated into concrete actions in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean coal technology . As long-standing partners, our cooperation has come to fruition in many other key sectors, such as space technology, industrial policy, agriculture, basic education and academic exchanges, which are equally important to consolidate our relationships.”

For her part, Commissioner Ashton stated: "The EU and India are two of the worlds major trading partners and we need to get our trade relations right to ensure our economies prosper and protect the vulnerable during these uncertain times. Our joint commitment to ensure the Doha development round is a success for all and to give new impetus to our negotiations for a broad based bilateral trade and investment agreement show we are on the right track"

B ackground:

The EU and India Annual Bilateral Summit, first held in 2000, provided an apt platform for political dialogue between the two global entities and paved the way in 2004, for a concrete strategic partnership between the EU and India. The Joint Action Plan adopted in 2005 and revised in 2008 to reflect the new major global challenges, has significantly reinforced these bilateral ties by setting a roadmap of progress and promoting peace and security, sustainable development, research and technology and people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges.

The EU and India share strong scientific and technological links. India is the third largest recipient of R&D projects funded under the EU Seventh Framework Programme (2007-2013). The EU and India are mobilizing their resources and knowledge to support their strategic mutual interests through co-funded research activities launched via coordinated calls for proposals in areas, such as computational material sciences, food and nutrition research, solar energy research and soon water and waste management. The solar energy research joint call, currently open for application, foresees a co-funding of 5M€ from each side.

Another milestone in the field of S&T is the Agreement for cooperation between the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC) and India in the field of fusion energy research, which will be signed at the Summit. It aims at intensifying cooperation to develop scientific understanding and technological capability underlying a fusion energy system. In the long term, it will develop a specific agenda for fusion research cooperation that goes far beyond ITER.

The burgeoning relationship between both partners is also reflected in the growing trade and business exchanges. EU-India trade relations have progressed tremendously over the last years. India ranked 10 th in the list of the EU’s main trading partners in 2008, up from 15 th in 2002. The EU is India’s largest trading partner accounting for approximately € 77 billion in trade in goods and services in 2008. The EU accounts for 21% of India’s total exports and 16% of India’s total imports. On the other hand, India accounts for 2.4% of EU’s total exports and 1.9% of the EU’s total imports. The EU has been the biggest investor in India with a cumulative volume of about € 16 billion since 2000.

University exchanges have been a successful enabler in promoting mutual understanding and academic excellence. Since 2004, more than 2300 Indian students and scholars have been benefiting from mobility to Europe through the Erasmus Mundus schemes.

The EU has a strong cooperation with India in the fight against poverty and the work towards the Millennium Development Goals, with a particular focus on social sectors (health and education) and on the efficient implementation of the Joint Action Plan.

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