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India–European Union relations

The Republic of India maintains an ongoing dialogue with Institutions of the European Union based on friendly Bilateral relations with individual Member states. India's major European trade partners - Germany, France and UK - have strengthened ties through direct Government-to-Government contacts in the absense of an EU-India FTA.

European Union–India relations
Map indicating locations of European Union and India



The European Commission is keen to restart negotiations[1] initiated in 2007 on an India-EU FTA. Talks on an EU-India Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement have stalled after failing to resolve differences related to matters such as the level of FDI & market access, manufacture of generic drugs, greenhouse gas emissions, civil nuclear energy, farming subsidies, regulation & safeguards of the financial sector, cooperation on tax evasion, overseas financing of NGOs in India, trade controls, technology transfer restrictions, cooperation on embargoes (Russia[2] & Iran), etc.

In January 2015, India rejected [3][4] a non-binding resolution passed by the European Parliament[5] pertaining to maritime incidents which occurred within Indian Contiguous Zone.[6] European Union Ambassador to India Joao Cravinho played down the resolution saying that the case will be resolved in accordance with Indian and International Laws.[7][8][9]

EU-India relationship[10] has been qualified as high on rhetoric[11] and low on substance.[12][13][14]



The EU is India's largest trading partner, accounting for 20% of Indian trade. However India accounts for only 1.8% of the EU's trade and attracts only 0.3% of European Foreign Direct Investment, although still provides India's largest source of investment. EU-India trade has more than doubled from €25.6 billion (US$36.7 billion) in 2000 to 55.6 billion euros in 2007.[6] In 2010, India, was the eighth largest trading partner of the European Union, behind China and Russia.[15]


The EU and India agreed on 29 September 2008 at the EU-India summit in Marseille, France's largest commercial port, to expand their co-operation in the fields of nuclear energy and environmental protection and deepen their strategic partnership. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the EU's rotating president, said at a joint press conference at the summit that "EU welcomes India, as a large country, to engage in developing nuclear energy, adding that this clean energy will be helpful for the world to deal with the global climate change." Sarkozy also said the EU and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan pledged to accelerate talks on a free trade deal and expected to finish the deal by 2009. [16]

The Indian prime minister was also cautiously optimistic about co-operation on nuclear energy. "Tomorrow we have a bilateral summit with France. This matter will come up and I hope some good results will emerge out of that meeting," Singh said when asked about the issue. Singh said that he was "very satisfied" with the results of the summit. He added that EU and India have "common values" and the two economies are complementary to each other.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, also speaking at Monday's press conference, expounded the joint action plan on adjustments of EU's strategic partnership with India, saying the two sides will strengthen co-operation on world peace and safety, sustainable development, co-operation in science and technology and cultural exchanges.

Reviewing the two sides' efforts in developing the bilateral strategic partnership, the joint action plan reckoned that in politics, dialogue and co-operation have enhanced through regular summits and exchanges of visits and that in economy, mutual investments have increased dramatically in recent years, dialogue in macro economic policies and financial services has established and co-operation in energy, science and technology and environment has been launched. Under the joint action plan, EU and Indian would enhance consultation and dialogue on human rights within the UN framework, strengthen co-operation in world peacekeeping mission, fight against terror and non-proliferation of arms, promote co-operation and exchange in developing civil nuclear energy and strike a free trade deal as soon as possible. France, which relies heavily on nuclear power and is a major exporter of nuclear technology, is expected to sign a deal that would allow it to provide nuclear fuel to India.

India has also contributed towards the EU's satellite navigation system.

12th EU-India SummitEdit

On the eve of the Summit President Van Rompuy stated: "The 12th EU-India summit will confirm that EU and India are strengthening and rebalancing their partnership in its political dimension, thus bringing our relationship to new heights. It will demonstrate that increased co-operation between India and the EU can make a difference for the security and the prosperity of our continents."[17] Although there were some apprehensions[18] regarding the EU-enforced carbon tax on all fliers landing or passing through European skies that was opposed by many other countries, including India, China, the US and Russia, the European Union and India held their twelfth annual summit in New Delhi on 10 February 2012. Various EU representatives were present such as President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. The EU Trade commissioner, Karel De Gucht also attended the summit. The Republic of India was represented by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, Trade Minister A. Sharma and National Security Adviser, S.S. Menon.[19]

The summit agenda covered bilateral, regional and global issues.[19]

The Leaders emphasised the importance of the EU-India Strategic Partnership. They endeavoured to reinforce co-operation in security, in particular counter-terrorism, cyber-security and counter-piracy, as well as trade, energy, research and innovation.[19]


  1. ^ [ EU keen to restart stalled BTIA negotiations with India]
  2. ^ European Union Ambassador to India Joao Cravinho: Ukraine issue: EU wants India to leverage ties with Russia
  3. ^ "European Parliament adopts resolution on Italian marines, India disapproves". The Economic Times. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "India disapproves European Parliament resolution on Italian marines". The Hindu. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2015 on the case of the two Italian 'marò'". European Parliament (Strasbourg). 15 January 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "EU, India to expand co-operation_English_Xinhua". 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  7. ^ European Union Ambassador to India Joao Cravinho: EU hopeful of speedy resolution of Italian marines issue
  8. ^ European Union Ambassador to India Joao Cravinho: EU hopeful of speedy resolution of Italian marines issue
  9. ^ [ EU hopeful of speedy resolution of Italian marines issue]
  10. ^ India, multi-aligned, and at variance with EU
  11. ^ EU-India ties clouded by 'rhetoric not matching action'
  12. ^ Vice-chair of parliament’s delegation for relations with India: 'Time to de-ice' EU-India relations
  13. ^ India to urge airlines to boycott EU carbon scheme
  14. ^ What’s Holding Back the India-EU FTA?
  15. ^ "A range of statistics to compare the EU with Brazil, Russia, India and China". EUROPA. 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  16. ^ Nivedita Sen & Balu G. Nair, "Human Rights Provisions in the forthcoming India-EU Free-Trade Agreement", NUJS Law Review, 2 January 2015
  17. ^ "EU-India summit – A partnership for prosperity". EUROPA. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  18. ^ "EU's aviation carbon tax a deal-breaker". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c "12th EU-India Summit, New Delhi, 10 February 2012". European Union External Action. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 

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