José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following the signing ceremony of agreements in the India-EU Summit
New Delhi, 10 February 2012
Thank you very much, let me start by thanking Mr Prime Minister Singh for his warm welcome and hospitality. We just had a very productive meeting and in a very friendly atmosphere as you see with Prime Minister Singh and the Indian delegation.
India is a natural and strategic partner of the European Union, and today's summit contributed to enforce our strong ties.
In today's world no country is an island, no country is self sufficient and no country can claim to be immune from global impacts.
In such a deeply interdependent world, our partnership is ever more important to address the common challenges that we face.
The European Union is addressing both the causes and the symptoms of the current crisis with great determination and I have the pleasure to briefly recall the progress that has been made, the scale of which is often overlooked.
Firstly, in the EU and namely in the euro area we have put in place new rules which greatly strengthen our capacity to ensure sound public finances. These will be further strengthened with the new international treaty recently agreed.
Secondly, we are completing a root-and-branch overhaul of financial regulation and supervision. Bank recapitalisation is well underway and funding issues are being effectively addressed by the action of the European Central Bank.
Thirdly, we have enhanced the flexibility of our firewalls, the EFSF and the future ESM, which should now be operational by July. These firewalls are a key element in our crisis response and it is essential that they have sufficient resources.
We are now in the final stages of agreeing on a second financial assistance programme for Greece. I informed Prime Minister Singh on the recent developments in this area. In fact regarding Greece and the progress that has been achieved in the last days we have and agreement at staff level between the Troika (that means the European Commission, the European Central bank and the IMF) and the Greek authorities. Additional discussions are now taking place to clarify some points of disagreement namely between the ministers of the Eurogroup.
I am confident that a solution will be reached next week as this is critically important for Greece and the Greek citizens first and foremost but also for the whole euro area. I therefore call on the responsibility and the leadership of the Greek leaders and all members of the eurozone so that we can obtain this goal that is important for the euro area and indeed for the global economy.
We are indeed making very important changes in Europe – structural reforms, better governance and these changes are part of the wave of reforms that are necessary to increase Europe's competitiveness and Europe's contribution to growth.
So my message here today to our Indian friends is that Europe is doing what it takes – and will continue to do what it takes – to restore confidence.
The European Union and India are the world's two largest democracies. Our shared values and strong commitment to representative government, good governance, human rights and the rule of law are an indispensable contribution to global stability and peace.
Today, the EU is already India's largest trading partner. It is also India's largest source of foreign direct investment. But there is a huge untapped potential in our economic relationship that we must explore for the benefit of our citizens and our businesses.
That is why we are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement. This Free Trade Agreement when it's concluded will be the biggest in the world. The negotiations have progressed steadily and I am happy to report that we have made a significant step forward. Our positions are now closer in all areas and the contours of the final agreement are emerging. We have therefore committed to intensify these negotiations. I expect the finalisation of these negotiations this autumn.
The conclusion of the EU-India FTA will be the single biggest trade agreement in the world, benefiting 1.7 billion people. It would mean new opportunities for both Indian and European companies. It would mean a key driver for sustainable growth, job creation and innovation in India and Europe.
India and the EU are likeminded global players. Together we can help shape a rules-based world. In fact we are broadening our cooperation with India to address common challenges such as climate change and energy security. Today we also saw the signature of Declarations on important areas.
On the basis of the joint declaration on energy we will work together on key areas to enhance energy security, promote energy efficiency and energy safety, and the development of low carbon energy sources, notably renewable energy. This is not only good for the environment, but it is also good for our businesses and possibilities for job creation.
On Research and Innovation, where India is already actively participating in EU Research Framework Programmes, we signed a declaration aiming at increasing our cooperation. This shows our shared commitment to innovation and the exchange of knowledge between European and Indian stakeholders, from universities to industries.
Energy and research are just two concrete examples that our relation is broadening and becoming stronger. We will work together to find solutions to societal challenges that we both share.
The avenues of growth in our relationship are vast and we are strongly committed to our partnership. I am confident that the European Union and India will seize the opportunities lying ahead to work together to shape a better future for our citizens.
I thank you for your attention.