Lisbon, New Delhi expect to restart EU-India talks in May

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) and Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa shake hands prior to a meeting in New Delhi, India, 19 December 2019. [EPA-EFE/STR]

Portugal has said it hopes to resume negotiations on trade and investment between the EU and India at a summit between EU leaders and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Porto on 8 May.

The expectation was reinforced on Tuesday (15 April) by Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva after a meeting via videoconference.

Negotiations were launched in 2007 but have been at a standstill since 2013. Their resumption would be seen as a triumph for the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, which counts strengthening political and economic ties between the bloc and India as among its priorities.

Contacted by Lusa.pt, a source from Portugal’s foreign ministry said that it sought to facilitate dialogue between the EU and India to ensure the success of the leaders’ meeting in Porto, and considered it extremely important that the negotiations on trade and investment resume.

In a series of tweets published after the meeting, Indian Finance Minister Sitharaman also referred to the “the need to build on historic bilateral ties based on stronger economic and financial links befitting a 21st-century partnership built on mutual trust and equal commitment.”

Improved relations between the EU and India, both seeking to end dependence on China, could serve as a vehicle to rebalance the bloc’s arduous ties with Beijing, Portugal’s Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva told EURACTIV in an exclusive interview earlier this year.

Revamped EU-India link could re-balance China ties, Portuguese FM says

Relations between the EU and India, especially in the context of an increasingly influential China, will be the central point of the Portuguese EU presidency, Portugal’s Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva told EURACTIV in an exclusive interview.

[Edited by Josie Le Blond]

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