Modi, European Commision president talk on pandemic, strategic partnership

New Delhi, May 3 (FN Bureau) Ahead of the May 8 India-EU virtual summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and discussed the prevailing COVID-19 situation in India and the EU and strengthening the strategic partnership between the two sides. Prime Minister Modi expressed his appreciation of the EU and its member nations for mobilizing quick support for India’s fight against the second wave of COVID-19.

“Good call with Prime Minister @narendramodi in preparation of the EU-India Summit: Team Europe stands in deep solidarity with our democratic partner India. We are providing rapid support and are delivering assistance to fight COVID19, “ said von der Leyen in a tweet. Modi was to go to Porto, Portugal, for the summit, but cancelled the visit due the worsening Covid situation in the country. This weekend’s India-EU Leaders’ Meeting will be the first meeting in the EU+27 format.

The meeting reflects the shared ambition of both sides for further strengthening the India-EU Strategic Partnership, said the Prime Minister’s Office. During the phone call, the two leaders agreed that India-EU Strategic Partnership was witnessing a renewed momentum since the last Summit in July. Both leaders noted that the upcoming meeting is an important opportunity to provide renewed momentum to the already multi-faceted India-EU relationship. “There is clear momentum to strengthen our strategic relations on trade, digital, climate change and multilateralism,” said the Commission president. “I’m encouraged by the prospect of intensifying our trade & investment relations. This would tap into a huge potential to the benefit of our businesses & citizens,” she added. The meeting could see progress on a free trade agreement and treaties on investment protection and Geographical Indications.