Alexander De Croo welcomes new trade talks at EU-India Summit
The European Union and India agreed to expand their strategic partnership at an extraordinary EU-India Summit held in Porto today. Prime Minister De Croo spoke at the summit on behalf of the Benelux countries, emphasising among other things the importance of trade with a strong focus on green growth. Belgium is the second most important European trade partner for India.
Prime Minister De Croo started his speech by expressing his solidarity with India. The country is currently being hit hard by a third corona wave. He also stressed the importance of access to corona vaccines.
The Benelux countries support the efforts of the World Trade Organisation to ensure open global supply chains in order to significantly increase the production capacity for corona vaccines, among other things. The Benelux countries also support the strengthening of COVAX (WHO/Gavi). The EU is the largest donor to the vaccine distribution mechanism.
In his speech, Prime Minister De Croo also stressed the importance of addressing climate change in the partnership between the European Union and India. The post-corona economic recovery should be green, digital and inclusive.
Alexander De Croo thanked Indian Prime Minister Modi for the initiatives taken by India to make its economy more sustainable and low-carbon.
The European Union and India launched the discussions leading to a new trade and investment agreement during the summit. The summit also saw the signing of the Connectivity Partnership between the European Union and India.
These trade talks are of great importance to Belgium. Belgium is India's second largest trading partner in the European Union and one of its most important investors.
After eight years, the human rights dialogue between the European Union and India was also resumed. This is good news for, among other things, promoting gender equality and equal opportunities, which are an important pillar of European and Belgian cooperation with India.