The 15th Summit between India and the European Union (EU) was held in virtual format on 15th July 2020. India was represented by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The EU was represented by Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. The leaders decided to strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership, based on shared principles and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law, and respect for human rights, aiming at delivering concrete benefits for the people in India and the EU.
In today’s complex world, they, as the world’s two largest democracies, affirmed their determination to promote effective multilateralism and a rules-based multilateral order with the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at its core. They will bolster their cooperation in international fora to reinforce international security, strengthen preparedness and response for global health emergencies, enhance global economic stability and inclusive growth, implement the Sustainable Development Goals and protect the climate and the environment. In this context, the EU is looking forward to India’s G20 Presidency in 2022 and its membership in the UN Security Council in 2021-2022.
As the world is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, the leaders agreed that global cooperation and solidarity are essential to protect lives and to mitigate the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic. The leaders emphasised the importance of strengthening our preparedness and response capacities, of sharing information in a free, transparent and prompt manner, and of improving international response including through relevant international organisations, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), drawing on lessons learned from the current global responses.
The leaders noted mutual synergies in the field of healthcare through shared capacities, experiences and strengths in the production of pharmaceuticals and vaccines, healthcare research and development, diagnostics and treatment. They discussed prospects for global collaboration and sustained funding for developing and deploying and accessibility of effective diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to make them available to all at an affordable price. They called for the future COVID-19 vaccine to become a global common good. They agreed to intensify cooperation between India and the EU on health security and pandemic crisis preparedness and response, in particular linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. They underlined the importance of ramping up the manufacturing of vital medical supplies and of stepping up cooperation to ensure a continued flow of these supplies, agricultural products, raw materials and other goods and services across borders.
The leaders agreed to further develop their trade and investment relations to unleash their full potential particularly in the context of post-COVID-19 economic recovery and support sustainable growth and jobs on both sides. They reaffirmed their commitment to work towards balanced, ambitious and mutually-beneficial trade and investment agreements, opening markets and creating a level playing field on both sides. They also agreed to establish a regular High Level Dialogue at ministerial level to provide guidance to the bilateral trade and investment relations and to address multilateral issues of mutual interest. The High Level Dialogue will aim at fostering progress on the trade and investment agreements, addressing trade irritants and improving conditions for traders and investors on both sides as well as discuss supply chain linkages. India and the EU agreed to keep the global trading system open, with the WTO as the bedrock of the rules-based multilateral trading system and to step up cooperation to preserve, strengthen and reform the WTO. Their cooperation should address today’s challenges effectively, including post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts with the objectives of a sustainable, socially just and resource-efficient economy. They will work together to make the twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference a success yielding concrete results in this regard. The leaders welcomed the G20 Action Plan to support the global economy and underlined the need to assist the most vulnerable countries. India and the EU will enhance coordination on global economic governance, notably in the framework of the G20. They will continue working together to promote debt sustainability, including in the G20.
Resolute and coordinated action is key to tackle the generational challenge of climate change and environmental degradation. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the Paris Agreement including with regard to nationally determined contributions in line with this agreement. The EU informed about the submission of its long-term greenhouse gas emission development strategy and India will strive to submit its own strategy, as nationally determined. The Leaders welcomed the ongoing cooperation between India and the EU under the Clean Energy and Climate Partnershi India and the EU will engage constructively in the global stocktake in 2023, the outcome of which shall inform the updating and enhancing, in a nationally determined manner, of the actions and support in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Paris Agreement. India and the EU will reinforce their cooperation in the International Solar Alliance (ISA) to promote the deployment of solar energy, and in the International Platform on Sustainable Finance (IPSF) to mobilise private capital towards environmentally sustainable investments. The EU looks forward to cooperating with the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) launched by India to ensure that infrastructures are resilient to climate change. The Leadership Group for Industry Transition, launched at the UN Climate Summit 2019, is an important initiative to tackle the climate crisis. They also agreed to work closely together in developing an ambitious post-2020 global framework to protect biodiversity, to be adopted at the 2021 UN Biodiversity Conference. High-level dialogue will support mutual understanding and the definition of a common approach on these issues. The leaders supported an ambitious mandate for an international chemical and waste management framework beyond 2020, for consideration at the fifth International Conference on Chemical Management in Bonn in 2021.
India and the EU will enhance their partnership in support of sustainable modernisation. They will boost cooperation to support clean energy transition, resource efficiency and circular economy, and the necessary technological leaps, while opening new business opportunities. India and the EU will further develop cooperation on smart and sustainable urbanisation, information and communication technology, transport, space and health security. They agreed to jointly tackle water issues, air pollution, plastic and marine litter. Exchanges on research and innovation will be increased to further underpin progress in these areas. The leaders welcomed the continued fusion research cooperation within the ITER project.
The leaders discussed ways to harness human-centric digitalisation to develop inclusive economies and societies. They agreed to enhance convergences between their regulatory frameworks to ensure a high level of protection of personal data and privacy, including through possible data adequacy decisions, with a view to facilitating safe and secure cross border data flows between them. India and the EU will upgrade their dialogue and cooperation on technology. They will engage on 5G and artificial intelligence including to promote global standards and to foster their safe and ethical deployment.
The leaders agreed to jointly promote a transparent, viable, inclusive, sustainable, comprehensive, and rules-based approach to connectivity to ensure that projects are environmentally, socially and fiscally sustainable and provide a level playing field for businesses They recalled in this regard the importance of the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment and the G20 Operational Guidelines for Sustainable Financing. They agreed to explore concrete initiatives, including a possible future comprehensive connectivity partnership, to improve connectivity between India and the EU and seek synergies between their cooperation on connectivity with third countries including in the Indo-Pacific region. They welcomed the ongoing activity in India of the European Investment Bank and the upcoming planned investments of €550 million in the Pune and Bhopal Metro Rail Projects. India and the EU recognize the key role of the private sector and the importance of incentivising sustainable private financing.
They reaffirmed their strong commitment to global peace and security, disarmament and non-proliferation and to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including its financing and countering radicalization. India and the EU will intensify exchanges and cooperation in this regard. The leaders agreed to launch a dialogue on maritime security and consultations on security and defence, and to enhance naval cooperation. They underlined the need to preserve safety and stability in the Indian Ocean. They welcomed the launch of negotiations on a working arrangement between the Central Bureau of Investigations and Europol to support law enforcement authorities of India and the Member States of the EU in preventing and combating organised crime and terrorism. They confirmed their full support to an open, free, stable and secure cyberspace, and their commitment to foster the responsible and liable behaviour of all the actors in the cyberspace. They underlined the need to increase global cyber resilience, including the health sector. India and the EU will continue to cooperate on international and regional issues of common interest including Iran and Afghanistan.
India and the EU reiterated their commitment to human rights, including gender equality and women empowerment in all spheres of life, and the importance they attach to their cooperation. In this regard, they looked forward to the next session as soon as possible of their dialogue to be held in New Delhi and supported enhancing interaction in international fora, in particular the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council.
Leaders welcomed active people-to-people exchanges including among students, researchers, professionals, business persons & tourists as part of the implementation of the Joint Declaration on Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM). They noted the progress under the High Level Dialogue on Migration and Mobility (HLDMM) to streamline the movement of people in both directions in line with applicable migration and mobility rules. They also encouraged cultural exchanges and educational cooperation between India and the EU.
The leaders adopted the “India-EU Strategic Partnership: A Roadmap to 2025” to guide cooperation between India and the EU over the next five years. They welcomed the signing of the India-EURATOM Agreement on research and development cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. They also adopted a Joint Declaration on Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy and welcomed the upcoming renewal of the India-EU Science and Technology Agreement for another five years. They agreed to reconvene for the 16th India –EU Summit in 2021.