On 8 May, leaders from the EU and India met for the virtual EU-India Leaders’ Meeting, which resulted in a sustainable and comprehensive Connectivity Partnership and a strengthened Strategic Partnership between the two partners.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council Charles Michel, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, and the heads of state or government of the 27 EU Member States met in Porto, Portugal to represent the EU. India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi connected via video conference.
Climate change figured high on the agenda alongside discussions on efforts to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen global health security, as well as agreements on fresh plans to advance bilateral trade relations. The leaders on both sides reaffirmed the urgency of addressing international climate challenges and stated their commitment to a successful UN climate change conference (COP26) in Glasgow this November.
With a shared determination to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement, the EU and India have agreed to work together on concrete issues across climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience, as reflected in their Joint Statement. For instance, the leaders plan to strengthen cooperation under the EU-India Clean Energy and Climate Partnership - initiated in 2016 - in order to speed up the deployment of renewable energy, promote energy efficiency, collaborate on smart grid and storage technology, and modernise the electricity market. Both parties also agreed to continue sharing with the international community progress made on implementing the Paris Agreement, and to encourage other partners to do the same.
At the press conference following the EU-India Leaders' Meeting, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said: “India is the fourth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, and it is impressive to see how the country is now stepping forward on this topic. We discussed the importance of committing to climate neutrality and complete phase out from fossil fuels, for example, in view of the crucial UN COP26, so to have a very ambitious goal.”
The EU-India Business Roundtable, held in parallel to the Leaders’ Meeting, confirmed that an outcome-oriented approach can work. In particular, it was highlighted that interaction between EU and Indian businesses can facilitate sustainable transitions in areas such as renewable energy and electrification of the transport sector. Increased availability of climate finance from the European Investment Bank and EU Member States’ Development Banks is also helping to advance the process. The leaders also recognised that mobilising sustainable finance from the private sector will also be an important area of cooperation.
The EU-India Leaders’ Meeting was an important milestone for international cooperation on climate action. Leaders on both sides expressed their willingness to work in close partnership on issues that are critical in the fight against climate change, such as sustainable modernisation of the economy, energy efficiency, and decarbonisation of industry and transport. In that spirit, EU and India agreed to convene regular meetings of the EU-India High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change that met for the first time end of April.
- Publication date
- 11 May 2021
- Directorate-General for Climate Action