EU, India to hold summit-level meeting in 2016

New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) The summit-level meeting between the European Union and India will be held in the first half of 2016, EU Ambassador to India Tomasz Kozlowski said on Wednesday.

“The EU-India summit will be held in the first half of 2016 at a mutually convenient date,” Kozlowski said at a media interaction here.

The meeting, which will be held in Brussels, comes after a gap of about four years.

Kozlowski said that for the EU, India was an extremely important partner.

“The new economic and social agenda of the new (NDA) government is specially attractive for the EU,” he said.

“India is perceived by us as one of the engines of economic growth.”

The EU ambassador pointed out that New Delhi was one of just four capital cities in the world where all EU member states have full-fledged missions, the others being Washington, Beijing and Moscow.

He said the relationship between India and the EU has not met both sides’ expectations with much potential being there.

“The EU and India share common values and policies, have democracies and market economies. We have to transform these common values into common interests,” said Kozlowski, who took up his New Delhi assignment just three months back.

He said both sides should look more attentively to each other’s interests and priorities.

Stating that he has noticed a change in the relations between India and the EU, he pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi met presidents of the European Commission and European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Antalya in Turkey last month.

With India being an important trading partner of the 28-nation politico-economic union, the veteran Polish diplomat said the EU was “really interested” in completing a free trade agreement (FTA) with India.

“Negotiations for this started between the two sides but was interrupted in 2013,” he said.

“Now it has been agreed that both sides will re-engage. A stock-taking meeting between the chief trading negotiators of the EU and India will be held in January.”

India, Kozlowski said, was the EU’s 10th largest trading partner.

“EU’s trade with India last year was to the tune of $100 billion,” he said.

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