The European Union is a politico-economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. HQ: Brussels, Belgium. Negotiations for a comprehensive FTA were started in June 2007 and have been sluggish in their progress.

Any doubts?


  1. Sumer Shah

    Why have India – EU FTA talks been disbanded? Just because of the high duties on automobiles – That’s it?

    1. Devesh Tiwari

      kaafi reason the!! in 2013 main issues were IPR and anti dumping laws ,EU had taken action against cheap agro products of india because agro industry in EU started crying just like our steel industry (against china’s cheap steel)

India-EU talks in a muddle

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the BTIA

Mains level: The BTIA is an important trade agreement for the Indian Economy. Failure to take decision on it can have long lasting effects on the Indian Economy.


News

Disappointment at the Indo-EU Summit

  1. German ambassador is disappointed at the failure of the resumption of talks on the investment and free trade agreement
  2. There is no decision to resume negotiations on free trade agreement despite the possibility being at hand
  3. The EU leaders and PM Narendra Modi failed to take such a decision during the summit

What is BTIA?

  1. India and the European Commission (with a negotiating mandate from the European Council) initiated negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) called the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement(BTIA) in 2007
  2. More than seven rounds of negotiations have been completed without reaching a Free Trade Agreement

Disappointment of the EU diplomats

  1. Disappointment of the EU diplomats is a signal of the growing unhappiness among European diplomats over the long period it has taken to get talks on the BTIA

[ op-ed snap] Navigating a Changing World

 

Note4students

Mains Paper 3| Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

 

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: European Union

Mains level: India-EU relations esp. in the economic sphere

 


News

Context-

  1. The article talks about obstacles in the trade pact between India and the EU and how to overcome them.

 

Change in global dynamics since the last talks held in 2016-

  1. Brexit has happened.
  2. Elections in Germany and France
  3. Visible rifts between eastern and western countries on what constitute core EU values
  4. Election in the US and consequent retreat of the US from its leadership of the west

 

IMPORTANT TAKEAWAYS

  1. The reference to India and EU as “world’s largest democracies”-

Such a statement is generally made with reference to sovereign countries. Interestingly, EU per se is not a sovereign country but a group of sovereign countries. Such a mention is more notable this time in light of the U.S.’s uncertain position on the international stage and EU’s need for a stronger union post Brexit.

  1. The countries have reiterated their commitment for a “Rules based” and “Multipolar” world

 Rules based world: This term assumes significance on the backdrop of the US going back on its promises on Paris climate agreement and the probability of the same on the Iran Nuclear deal

Multipolar world: The reference to multipolarity is a recognition that there is more than just one chair at the top table, not just with the U.S.’s shifting position but also due to Russia and China’s ascent.

  1. The India-EU joint statement on terrorism this year called for “decisive and concerted actions” against Hafiz Saeed, Dawood Ibrahim, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other purveyors of terror; this will further bolster India’s efforts to call out Pakistan on the issue of sponsoring terror.

 

Roadblocks in talks on BTIA-

  1. Recent summits have been conspicuous by the absence of talks on the BTIA (Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement). There is disagreement on whether the protection of foreign investments will be part of the BTIA or dealt with in a stand-alone treaty
  2. Indian demand for liberalising the access to natural persons- India wanting a greater ease of movement of temporary skilled workers to provide services in the EU and the EU wanting greater market access for its automobiles and its wines and spirits. Wanting an open market for automobiles and liquor but unduly restricting the movement of natural persons (with barriers in terms of salary thresholds, recognition of qualifications, visa fees, social security and so forth) seems to be a case of double standards.
  3. EU not granting “data secure” certification to India – a condition that facilitates the cross-border transfer of personal data. India does not have a stand-alone law on data privacy and this could be acting as a barrier too as EU is very seriously taking steps to secure digital data privacy of its citizens.

Way forward-

  1. Convergence of values and interests:
    EU is India’s largest trade partner (over 100 billion Euros in bilateral trade of goods and services last year). EU, like India, is also wary of China’s political and economic dominance.
  2. Uncertainty over EU’s future in the next decade: With Brexit and other important developments, there is no clarity about what presence will EU have in the next decade. Hence, cementing trade ties with India will help strengthen EU’s economic future.
  3. “Data secure” certification: India needs to enact a strong Data Privacy Law which protects the digital data privacy of its citizens. This is necessary to protect the economic interests of the Indian IT industry.
  4. India is right to strike a hard bargain as far as the temporary movement of skilled workers is concerned. The EU and other developed countries have been historically reluctant about moving forward on this and the issue has become more challenging with the rise of populism and protectionism in Europe.

 


Back2basics

  1. European Union: It is the political and economic union of the 28 member states of Europe. It works in a special environment where the monetary policy of the entire European Union is decided by the European Central Bank while the fiscal policies are decided by the member countries themselves. The EU has a common currency called the Euro. Check this image for hierarchy of economic integration.

India, EU name Dawood, Hafiz Saeed, Rehman Lakhvi in joint fight against terror

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

 

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: European Union, European Council, European Commission

Mains level:India-EU relations and its impact on India- Pakistan relations

 


News

Context-

  1. The article talks about major announcements in the India- EU Joint Statement.
  2. The statement was released at the 14th India-EU Summit in New Delhi.

 

What is the statement?

  1. This statement highlights the security co-operation between India and the EU.
  2. In a first, India and the European Union (EU) have named three globally proscribed terrorists — Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim — in their joint statement.
  3. A separate joint statement titled “Co-operation in combating terrorism” has also been released which includes names of the above-mentioned terrorists as well as the terror outfits associated with them.
  4. This joint declaration asserts the determination of both the parties to counter violent extremism and radicalisation especially online.
  5. It also talks about collectively dealing with foreign terrorist, terrorist financing and arms supply.
  6. The statement expressed concern over the violence in the Rakhine state of Myanmar and noted that the violence was caused by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
  7. The statement not only condemned the acts of terror conducted on Indian soil but also those conducted on the European soil. Eg. Uri, Pathankot, Brussels, Nice etc.
  8. No major headway on the India-EU Free Trade Agreement. The agreement, however, noted the efforts for relaunching the talks to negotiate India-EU Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).

 

What is the significance?

  1. The EU had recognised the Lashkar-e-Tayibba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul- etc as terror outfits in the previous India-EU summit. However, this is the first time that EU has recognised Hafiz Saeez, Zaki-Ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim as terrorists.
  2. This is a step forward in building up of a consensus against Pakistan as a safe haven for terrorism.
  3. The EU is a major player in the United Nations and convergence in views on terrorism will be essential to designate Masood Azhar (Chief of Jaish-E-Mohammed).

 


Back2basics

  1. European Union: It is the political and economic union of the 28 member states of Europe. It works in a special environment where the monetary policy of the entire European Union is decided by the European Central Bank while the fiscal policies are decided by the member countries themselves. The EU has a common currency called the Euro. Check this image for hierarchy of economic integration.
  2. European Council: It is charged with defining the European Union’s (EU) overall political direction and priorities, it is the institution of the EUthat comprises the heads of state or government of the member states, along with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission.
  3. European Commission: It is an institution of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.

[op-ed snap] Partners, naturally

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: The article effectively explains the positive relations between the two partners.


News

Context

  1. The article is written by the President of the EU on Indo-Europe relationship.

India-EU natural relation

  1. Every year, millions of Europeans come to India
  2. Millions of Indians make the reverse trip to Europe to visit, live, work or study
  3. Both are the two largest democracies in the world
  4. Both share the same values of freedom, equality and tolerance
  5. Work of both go from fighting climate change and terrorism to cooperating on cyber security and digital

14th EU-India Summit

  1. India and EU will work to strengthen their excellent partnership
  2. EU message to India will be that Europe is open for business and will continue to remain so

Why is EU important for India, as an open market?

  1. The EU is the world’s biggest open market and the world’s second largest economy
  2. EU is the largest trading partner for 80 countries, including India
  3. EU’s economy is growing faster than that of the United States and eight million new jobs have been created
  4. EU already trade more than 100 billion euro worth of goods and services every year with India

European Investment Bank in India

  1. The European Investment Bank has now set up an office in New Delhi 
  2. European loans have helped to finance the construction of the Lucknow Metro and solar power schemes across the country

The way forward

  1. EU-India Free Trade Agreement should resume
  2. Europe will support India’s ambitious goals through investment and expertise in green buildings, renewable energy, waste management and air pollution
  3. Indian scientists have received research grants to work with their European counterparts on medical breakthroughs or cutting-edge technologies and will continue in future

Putting the sun to work

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basics of Solar Power Generation

Mains level: Article shows greater collaboration of India and UK at minor level of University and Villages.


News

Grant from UK Government

  1. A consortium of 12 Indian and British universities has received a £7 million grant from the U.K. government to build self-sufficient solar-powered buildings in remote Indian villages
  2. This consortium also includes Oxford and Cambridge

Project Sunrise

  1. The grant is part of a new solar project called ‘SUNRISE
  2. This project aimed at developing printed photovoltaic cells and new manufacturing processes which can be used to make solar energy products in India
  3. Another aim of SUNRISE project for India is to provide a real-life example which proves that this technology works and that it is appropriate within communities
  4. The plan is that it will encourage local industries to manufacture affordable prefabricated buildings that can generate, store and release their own power

Vijay Mallya among 57 fugitives India wants UK to send back

  1. Event: meeting between PM Narendra Modi and British PM Theresa May
  2. What: India has asked the UK to return 57 fugitives, including liquor baron Vijay Mallya, and members of some Sikh extremist groups
  3. The list also includes those about whom information is required under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or Letters Rogatories
  4. The meeting also focused on greater cooperation to counter illegal activities and greater terrorism

Theresa May’s India visit: Key issues expected to be on the agenda

  1. Event: British PM Theresa May arrived in India late Sunday on a 3 day visit that aimed at boosting economic ties
  2. Key issues: She will address an India-UK Technology summit where she will pitch for partnerships between Indian and British companies to implement India’s flagship programmes
  3. For India, the priority is the question of immigration
  4. Britain has announced changes in immigration rules—including higher salary thresholds—that will affect Indian professionals and IT companies
  5. India could press for the extradition of embattled UB group chairman Vijay Mallya
  6. New Delhi could look for a strong statement on terrorism from Britain

India, EFTA to resume FTA talks this week in Geneva II

  1. The proposed pact covers trade in goods and services, market access for investments, protection of intellectual property and public procurement
  2. Issues: EFTA wants India to commit more in IPR. They were also demanding for data exclusivity, which India is completely opposed to
  3. The two way trade between the regions stood at USD 21.5 billion in 2015-16 as against USD 24.5 billion in the previous fiscal
  4. The trade gap is highly in the favour of EFTA group

India, EFTA to resume FTA talks this week in Geneva I

  1. Event: India and the EFTA, a bloc of four European countries will resume the long—stalled negotiations
  2. Purpose: A proposed free trade agreement
  3. The four EFTA members are – Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein
  4. The trade pact talks had started in October 2008

India rekindles bond with Hungary

  1. Event: Highest level visit in decades by a ranking Indian leader to Hungary, by Vice-President Hamid Ansari
  2. Two memoranda of cooperation were signed relating to water management and cooperation between the Indian Council for World Affairs and the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary
  3. Cooperation in defence industry, agriculture and film making was also initiated
  4. Background: Hungary has extended support to India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group
  5. And in the context of the post-Brexit uncertainties for Indian business and industry in the United Kingdom
  6. The visit is expected to revive ties between the countries. Both countries acknowledged that relations have been neglected recently

India-Croatia economic cooperation

  1. News: Cabinet approved the signing and ratification of an agreement between India and Croatia on economic cooperation
  2. Background: The countries had earlier signed an agreement on trade and economic cooperation in September 1994
  3. Aim: To promote and develop bilateral trade and economic relations
  4. Continuity: Signing of the new agreement between India and Croatia would be a step in continuity as the existing agreement expired in November 2009
  5. Stats: The average bilateral trade growth was 17.44% during the last three years and stood at $205.04 million in 2014-15

SC allows Italian marine to go home

  1. Context: The Supreme Court allowed Italian marine Salvatore Girone to go Italy
  2. He has been allowed to go home on humanitarian basis
  3. Earlier: In September 2014, the court had allowed Mr. Girone’s compatriot to leave for Italy after he suffered a stroke
  4. He will have to return if an international tribunal decides that India has jurisdiction to try the marines for the deaths of two Kerala fishermen
  5. SC had suspended all court proceedings in India during August 2015 after Italy moved the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
  6. Salvatore Girone is charged for killing two Kerala fishermen in 2012

EU had offered India gradual, asymmetric elimination of tariffs

  1. Context: Issue of halted BTIA negotiations between India & EU
  2. EU: Offered India the possibility of asymmetric and gradual elimination of tariffs in the car and car parts and wines and spirits sectors as part of the negotiations on BTIA
  3. Duties: EU exporters face Indian import duties of up to 100% on car and car parts and 150% on wines and spirits
  4. Hurdle: Absence of agreement in these sectors has contributed to lack of progress on BTIA despite last month’s summit level talks between India and the EU

India blames EU for FTA talks delay

  1. Context: European Ambassador’s comment that EU is interested in an ambitious and comprehensive FTA with India
  2. News: Commerce Minister has blamed the EU for delaying talks on the proposed India-EU Free Trade Agreement
  3. In the recent India-EU Summit, both sides welcomed the decision to re-engage in discussion to further the negotiations
  4. BTIA: The EU-India FTA is formally known as EU-India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement

Learn more about India-EU FTA

  1. It is officially known as broad-based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement
  2. The talks on the FTA had commenced in 2007 and both the sides had held 16 rounds of negotiations till 2013
  3. India’s import duty on cars are between 60 and 120% as against the EU’s 10% is a big challenge, in order to protect domestic automobile industry
  4. The objective of the tariffs is protection of an infant industry till they can compete with experienced players in that industry

India-EU free trade impasse may end: CII

  1. Context: Efforts to end a deadlock on the proposed EU Free Trade Agreement
  2. News: Confederation of Indian Industry is expecting some forward movement in the FTA negotiations between India and EU
  3. Reason: Indian industry is ready to grant greater market access to European Union firms in areas such as automobiles, wines and spirits
  4. India is looking for same in case garments, automobiles, automobile components and services sector
  5. India’s main demands includes data security status, easier temporary movement of skilled professionals and seamless intra-corporate movement
  6. Data Security Status: It is crucial for India’s IT sector to do more business with the EU firm

EU-India Agenda for Action 2020

  1. Context: The agenda was released after the 13th India-EU Summit at Brussels
  2. Take-aways: India and the EU have agreed to implement a framework to boost European investments in India
  3. To continue talks on concluding a bilateral trade and investment pact
  4. To use existing arrangements to resolve trade irritants

Modi can be a major ally in war against terror: EU lawmakers

  1. Context: Indian PM’s visit to EU headquarters at Brussels for India-EU Summit
  2. News: The European Parliament believes India can be a major ally of the EU in the global war against terror
  3. India has the “first-hand knowledge” of dealing with such issues
  4. India and EU will focus on overlapping interests, including maritime security, terrorism, space and cyber defence

India, EU to discuss trade, ‘sensitive bilateral issues’ at Brussels Summit

  1. News: India EU summit will witness an attempt from both sides to kick start the stalled talks on the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)
  2. Context: BTIA is a free trade agreement between India and the European Union
  3. Relevance: It provides an opportunity for leaders to raise more sensitive bilateral issues
  4. Such as the ongoing international arbitration under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in regard to the case of 2 Italian Marines
  5. Summit Agenda: To endorse an EU-India Agenda for Action 2020 which will set strategic priorities for the next 5 yrs
  6. Joint declarations specifically address projects including the ‘Indo-EU Water Partnership’ regarding the Indian govt’s ‘Clean Ganga’ and ‘Clean India’ projects
  7. Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM), addressing regular and irregular migration, trafficking, a joint declaration on terrorism

Breakthrough unlikely in India-EU FTA negotiations

  1. What? India and EU are unlikely to make a breakthrough in stalled FTA during PM’s visit to Brussels to attend the 13th India-EU Summit
  2. Why? Both issued cautious statements ahead of summit showing varied expectations

PM to fly to Brussels as planned

  1. News: PM Modi is scheduled to travel to Brussels on his way to the U.S.
  2. Context: Will attend the European Union-India Summit and hold bilateral talks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel
  3. Summit resume: After a break of 4 yrs, will see the resumption of talks on Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), as the Free Trade Agreement(FTA) is known
  4. Focus: EU support to India on climate change cooperation, clean water projects and in particular, the Namami Ganga project
  5. Issues on Table: Cooperation on fighting terror and deradicalisation and IS-related security issues
  6. Other Events: Apart from the bilateral meeting and the EU-India summit, Mr. Modi will attend an event organised for the Indian diaspora

Modi to attend summit of EU, India in Brussels

  1. Context: PM Modi will travel to Brussels for the EU-India summit on March 30
  2. Background: Summit is held after a long gap of 4 years due to suspension of talks on the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)
  3. Concern: Some obstacles preventing the resumption of the India-EU FTA talks that were suspended in 2013 after 16 rounds of negotiation
  4. What EU wants from India? To substantially bring down the “high” duties on automobiles as a pre-condition for resumption of the FTA negotiations
  5. Why? because, India’s import duty on cars range from 60-120 per cent as against the EU’s 10 per cent


:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.







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