External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar met top leaders of the European Union and held wide-ranging talks on key issues such as combating terrorism, climate change and enhancing economic cooperation, which would benefit both India and the EU.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement said that the Minister shared India’s foreign policy priorities and regional and global perspective with the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) of the EU.
The statement added that both the sides expect to deepen their engagement – particularly on common priorities such as addressing climate change, safeguarding multilateralism, cooperation in defence, security, connectivity, digital economy, trade and investment as also in the field of defence security and addressing the menace of terrorism.
This is Dr Jaishankar’s first visit to the EU after the assumption of office of the new Commission in last December. The Foreign Minister met EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen and the two leaders discussed experiences in capacity building and development partnerships.
The Minister also held positive and productive parleys at the Foreign Affairs Council of the EU. Dr Jaishankar also met EU Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan and exchanged views on the prospects for India-EU economic cooperation.
Dr Jaishankar held a very engaging conversation with Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans and the two leaders discussed experiences on sustainability, climate change, environment and innovation. He had an open discussion with members of the European Parliament representing a broad spectrum of politics and member states.
The Minister also met Philippe Goffin, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Defence and congratulated him on Belgium’s assumption of the Presidency of the UNSC for February 2020. The two ministers discussed India-Belgium cooperation in the bilateral context, in multilateral fora as well as regional and global issues of shared interest.
During his one-day visit, Jaishankar exchanged views with a group of members of the European Parliament representing various members and political groupings in the new European Parliament. This was his second such interaction with the MEPs.
Jaishankar’s visit comes weeks after the European Parliament postponed until March a vote on a joint motion, combining five different resolutions tabled by its members against India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which was debated at its Plenary session in Brussels. The Minister also met German Defence Minister A. Kramp-Karrenbauer and held discussions on Afghanistan and Indo-Pacific. He also met German Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier and apprised him of the growing opportunities to do business in India.
Jaishankar, who was in Germany during the weekend for the prestigious Munich Security Conference, arrived in Brussels on Monday to prepare the ground for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s planned visit for the India-EU summit here next month.