EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the EU summit in Porto
Photo: Luis Vieira / dpa
The EU and India have decided to resume talks on a free trade agreement that have been suspended for eight years.
The EU heads of state and government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced after a video summit that they wanted to achieve “a balanced, ambitious, comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement”.
At the same time, both sides agreed to work closely on the corona pandemic and reaffirmed the goal of giving people worldwide access to vaccines.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) said with regard to India that there is a common belief that vaccination is the way out of the pandemic and that exports must also be made possible.
You can "very well" imagine that the EU will work even more closely together on the production of vaccines in the future.
India is the EU's tenth largest trading partner.
Last year the volume of trade between the two sides was a good 65 billion euros.
With a population of almost 1.4 billion people and rapid economic developments, the EU still sees great potential here.
In addition, the rapprochement would be a protective measure against China's growing economic influence.
The free trade talks had been blocked since 2013.
The reason was, among other things, a dispute over tariff cuts and the access of Indian workers to Europe.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized that there was “a lot of untapped potential” between the EU and India, especially in terms of trade and investment.
In addition, India is »a power center in digitization«.
Both sides have already agreed to strengthen cooperation on artificial intelligence and supercomputers.
Due to the difficult corona situation in his country, Modi took part in the summit with the EU via video.
The Indian health system is overloaded given the situation.
Corona patients keep dying because there is a lack of medical oxygen for ventilation in the hospitals.
EU countries have provided aid supplies of equipment and medicines valued at an estimated 100 million euros.
ssu / dpa