The meeting between the European Union leaders and the Prime Minister of India was “a success” in the opinion of Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, opening doors so that “we can move forward and quickly implement these new agreements” on trade and investment, with the 27 having decided to resume negotiations after an impasse of eight years.
“This is the first time we’ve had a summit where the Indian Prime Minister met with the European institutions and with the 27 leaders of the Union”, Costa emphasised after the meeting in the Palácio de Cristal in Porto, which brought Narendra Modi, via video conference, and the EU Heads of State or Government together. Costa believes it was “very significant” that the meeting went ahead despite the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic situation in India, obliging Modi to cancel his trip to Portugal some weeks ago.
At a joint press conference with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the Portuguese Prime Minister recalled that negotiations on trade and investment agreements with India had been suspended since 2013 and that “this time, we not only decided to relaunch these negotiations, but we have also advanced towards a strategic partnership”. Von der Leyen reinforced the importance of the moment, which she called “historic”, thanking António Costa for having contributed decisively to making it happen.
A joint press statement was released after the working session, on behalf of the leaders of the European institutions, the Heads of State or Government of the 27 and the Indian Prime Minister, reaffirming the importance of the strategic partnership between these two regions. Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, said this was “a new chapter in bilateral relations between the two largest democracies in the world”.