EVP Frans Timmerman concludes his three-day visit to India
- EU and India to strengthen cooperation on climate action and clean energy and work together on successful outcome of Cop 26
New Delhi, 22 October, 2021: Today, European Commission Executive-Vice President (EVP) for the European Green Deal Mr Frans Timmermans concluded his three-day visit to India. The visit focused on preparations for COP 26 and on strengthening EU-India cooperation against climate change and biodiversity loss. For a successful summit in Glasgow, it will be important for all major emitters to demonstrate how they plan to align their economies with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
During his visit, the EVP held bilateral meetings with Indian counterparts, participated in the opening session of the International Solar Alliance Assembly and met stakeholders, including think tanks, business associations and youth.
The EU and India are strongly engaged in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, having established a Clean Energy and Climate Partnership in 2016. As agreed at the last leaders’ meeting earlier this year, the EU and India have been working closely together to speed up the deployment of renewable energy, promote energy efficiency, collaborate on smart grid and storage technology, and modernise the electricity market.
Bilateral Meetings: Deepening of EU India partnership
The EVP met with Mr. Bhupender Yadav, Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change; Mr. Raj Kumar Singh, Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy; Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs and Mr. Hardeep S Puri, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Housing and Urban Affairs.
The EVP expressed his strong appreciation for India’s action with regard to climate change, the massive investment in renewables and the leadership taken in starting global initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. EVP Timmermans discussed how best the EU and India can together address the climate crisis, transition to low carbon pathways and secure a successful outcome at COP 26, with a renewed sense of ambition and urgency. He reiterated that -as part of a global effort- the EU will continue to take the lead in mobilising climate finance from a wide variety of sources, instruments and channels and a variety of actions. The EU is already the largest climate finance donor, contributing over $ 25 billion in 2019, nearly one-third of total public climate finance.
The EVP congratulated India for joining the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People. EVP Timmermans and Minister Bhupender Yadav reflected on the recent extreme events, such as the floods in different parts of India and Europe and the strong scientific evidence, which requires strong signals of commitment at COP26. They also held detailed discussions on the progress on adaptation, closing the mitigation gap, climate finance and on outstanding negotiation items for the rules governing the Paris agreement, including international carbon markets. They also discussed how to further strengthen EU India cooperation on climate action, biodiversity and circular economy.
The EU and India have set themselves ambitious Renewable Energy targets. EVP Timmermans, during his meeting Minister Raj Kumar Singh reiterated the EU commitment to intensify its collaboration with India to achieve its Renewable Energy targets. Both further agreed to accelerate cooperation on energy efficiency, renewables & grid integration, green hydrogen, and mobilising sustainable finance.
Economic recovery post COVID-19, ensuring successful outcome of COP26 including financial commitments, green hydrogen, biodiversity, commitment to Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure & sustainable finance was discussed in detail with Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.
EVP Timmermans and Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had an insightful discussion and on expanding the EU India strategic partnership, including on trade and investment, climate action, clean energy, connectivity and the Indo-pacific. They also exchanged perspectives on COP 26 and Afghanistan.
Recognising the solid cooperation under the EU-India Partnership on Smart and Sustainable Urbanization, Minister Hardeep S Puri and EVP further discussed the energy transition in the EU and India, the role of electrification of road and rail, green hydrogen, energy costs, smart cities, urbanisation and EU-India cooperation in these areas.
Reinforcing engagement with ISA and CDRI
Confirming EU’s support to the International solar Alliance during his address at the opening session of the International Solar Alliance Assembly, the EVP also announced the imminent launch of a project, worth around 1 million Euro, funded by the EU, aiming at further strengthening the engagement of EU, EU Member States, and EU academic, business and financial communities with ISA.
He also met with the Mr. Kamal Kishore, Member, National Disaster Management Authority and Indian Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and reiterated EU’s alignment with CDRI and its objective. He also reinforced the need to invest in both adaptation and mitigation, as they are two sides of the same coin.
Youth as the climate leaders
The EVP interacted with young climate activists at an in-person session on ‘Youth, Science and Climate Action’ organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in collaboration with the European Union Delegation. He emphasized that “youth are the real climate leaders of today”. The session saw a group of youth representatives discussing with the EVP on a wide range of issues, including ambitious targets, net zero goals, adaptation and mitigation, green hydrogen and ensuring gender considerations in climate policy-making.
The EU-India strategic partnership is underpinned by the shared values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights. The EU and India are stepping up their cooperation on the world stage and in multilateral fora and have a collective voice on global issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, environment, clean energy, trade among others.
The EU aims to be climate-neutral by 2050 – an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. This objective is at the heart of the European Green Deal and enshrined in its climate law, and in line with the EU’s commitment to global climate action under the Paris Agreement.
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