Informal Council and EU-India Summit mark Saturday’s agenda

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The heads of state and government of the European Union will meet this Saturday at the Crystal Palace, in Porto, for an informal Council with the Social Pillar on the agenda and for a Meeting of EU-India Leaders.

Beginning at 9:30 am (Lisbon time), the informal Council debate will focus on “applying the European Pillar of Social Rights at national level and at the level of the European Union” (EU), which was under discussion at Social Summit, which took place this Friday at Alfândega do Porto, and which was attended by European leaders, social partners and representatives of civil society.

According to a note from the European Council, the 27 will also discuss “how to guarantee a inclusive recovery, placing education and competences at the center of political action ”.

The Meeting of EU-India leaders, scheduled for 1:00 pm, is one of the main priorities of the Portuguese presidency, “which consists of strengthening the strategic autonomy of a Europe open to the world”, in this case with the Indo-Pacific region in focus.

According to a note from the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, “the fight against covid-19, vaccines, cooperation in the digital sector, the partnership for connectivity, climate action and major international and regional issues will be debated in a political dialogue between the two strategic partners ”.

The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, will be present at the meeting remotely, due to the worsening of the pandemic situation in his country.

Opportunity to promote commercial ties

The EU-India Leaders meeting is an opportunity to promote trade and investment ties between the two “Largest democratic spaces in the world”, affirmed António Costa and Narendra Modi, in a text published in the Politico.

“We must take this opportunity to increase our relations, using the enormous potential of our democratic spaces to promote commercial and investment ties and to support multilateralism”, Reads in the joint text of the Portuguese and Indian Prime Ministers, published in the online magazine Politico.

The leaders refer that the meeting of the leaders of the European Union (EU) and India is “a moment of profound geopolitical significance”, which aims to “reinforce the dialogue between the two largest democratic spaces in the world”, giving “new impetus” to partnership between the two blocs, with positive effects on trade and international investment.

The meeting, they pointed out, is an opportunity to expand cooperation between the EU and India “in new areas of decisive importance for the development of contemporary societies and economies”, such as the digital transition, connectivity, mobility, health, energy transition and climate action.

“It is the right time to resume negotiations for an ambitious and balanced trade agreement, capable of acting as a key factor for sustainable growth and job creation, both for India and Europe. In addition, an EU-India agreement would send a powerful signal to the world in support of benefits international trade cooperation ”, the text reads.

The leaders said that today new paths of cooperation will be opened, for example, by launching a partnership that aims to promote collaboration in the field of transport, energy and digital transition.

The EU, they recalled, is India’s largest trading partner and the second largest destination for Indian exports, with trade between the two territories increasing by 72% in the last decade.

Currently there are about 6,000 European companies present in India, responsible for 1.7 million direct and 5 million indirect jobs.

“Negotiating an EU-wide investment protection framework would provide more stability and security for companies in India and the EU to expand their presence in their respective markets,” said the two prime ministers.

The EU-India Leaders Meeting, scheduled for 13:00, is one of the main priorities of the Portuguese presidency, “which consists of strengthening the strategic autonomy of a Europe open to the world”, in this case with the Indo- Pacific in focus.

According to a note from the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU, “the fight against covid-19, vaccines, cooperation in the digital sector, the partnership for connectivity, climate action and major international and regional issues will be debated in a political dialogue between the two strategic partners ”.

Portugal hosted the first EU-India Summit in Lisbon during the Portuguese EU Presidency in 2000, and India hosted the eighth EU-India Summit in New Delhi in 2007, also during a Portuguese Presidency.