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Delegation of the European Union to India and Bhutan

India and the EU

As long-standing partners, India and the European Union (EU) are committed to dynamic dialogue in all areas of mutual interest as major actors in their own regions and as global players on the world stage. Both are working towards enhancing the EU-India Strategic Partnership, established in 2004 and based on the shared values and principles of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the promotion of peace and stability.

The 13th EU-India Summit, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, European Council President Donal Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, was held in Brussels on 30 March 2016. The main topics of the Summit were foreign policy, security and human rights cooperation, economic cooperation and global issues such as climate change and migration and mobility. Leaders adopted a Joint Declaration and endorsed the 'EU-India Agenda for Action 2020' which builds on the achievements of the 2005 Joint Action Plan. The Summit also produced a Joint Declaration on the fight against terrorism and agreements on a number of sectoral partnerships.

The basis of the political cooperation between the EU and India was laid in the Joint Political Statement of 1993 and the 1994 Cooperation Agreement, which took relations beyond trade and economic cooperation. Summits (the first one took place in 2000) and ministerial meetings are the most visible features of this cooperation. There are also regular dialogues on foreign policy and security issues of common interest such as counter-terrorism, cyber-security, counter-piracy, non-proliferation and disarmament and human rights, as well as close contacts in multilateral forums and interactions in the margins of regional or international events. The EU and India moreover consult regularly on migration and mobility, trade, economic cooperation, science and technology, energy, environment and ICT.

Political relations are also strengthened by the regular exchange visits between EU and Indian parliamentarians. In June 2015, Speaker of the Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan visited the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels while the EP Delegation for Relations with India came to Delhi and Jaipur in March that year, not to mention many other visits by MEPs. Expert meetings and think tank contacts complement these multiple interactions.

The European Union is represented in India by Ambassador Tomasz Kozlowski, Head of the Delegation of the European Union in New Delhi. The Delegation, a full-fledged diplomatic mission, works in close coordination with the diplomatic missions of the 28 EU Member States in areas within the EU’s remit. The EU Delegation is at the centre of a vibrant and multi-faceted bilateral relationship that links the EU and India, and it is constantly working to deepen and broaden political ties. In addition, the Delegation promotes people-to-people contacts and cultural cooperation by sponsoring academic, cultural and media exchanges between India and the EU.

Working with civil society, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), cooperatives, the academia, business associations, trade unions, women and youth associations, among other entities, is an integral part of EU-India cooperation. India’s vibrant civil society has been continuously contributing to addressing the inclusive growth and development issues of the country over the last six decades. Civil society organizations often play a critical role in helping reach out to the most remote and marginalised population groups, address specific social, economic and environmental challenges, test new models of intervention and make globalisation and technological advances work for all. 

The EU seeks to strengthen civil society by facilitating the participation of a wide range of stakeholders, strengthening capacity development processes, promoting social dialogue, facilitating citizens’ active engagement and networking as well as promoting innovation and best practices. About 80 projects involving civil society actors are ongoing for a combined amount of over €80 million in EU funding. Almost all projects work in direct partnership with various government programmes, schemes and institutions, at various levels, from centre to state, district, block, taluk and village levels. 

More information on current civil society projects can be viewed here or under case studies.

ECHO in India

The Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) has been present in India since 1995 and has responded to all major emergencies since, including the Orissa cyclone in 1999, the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, the Tsunami in 2004, the Jammu & Kashmir earthquake in 2005, the Bihar floods in 2008 and Cyclone Phailin in 2013.

Since it first began operations, the European Commission has thus far contributed close to EUR 130 million to address the urgent humanitarian needs of people in India, including an allocation of more than EUR 4.3 million between 2015 and 2016.

In 2016, ECHO funding, released as part of the EU Children of Peace project, is being used to ensure that displaced children in conflict-torn Assam have access to education, which will eventually help reduce the risk of them engaging in hazardous activities such as joining insurgency groups or being exposed to labour exploitation. The project also provides much-needed health care assistance and increased protection for affected children.

In the north-eastern state of Jammu and Kashmir where the populations have borne the heavy brunt of a decades-long conflict, ECHO has provided healthcare, protection, and livelihood support to people directly or indirectly affected by the violence since 2002. This year, ECHO-funded aid focuses on delivering appropriate medical treatment and support for conflict-affected boys and girls who have been caught up in violent outbreaks and sustained injuries.

Preparing communities to minimise natural disaster risks is also an important part of ECHO's work in India. Since 2001, ECHO's Disaster Preparedness programme, known as DIPECHO, has supported vulnerable communities in reducing the impacts of floods, cyclones, earthquakes and other natural disasters through initiatives such as the creation of early warning systems and adaptation of physical infrastructure. Its total contribution to this end exceeds EUR 8 million, including the 2013-2014 allocation.

To know more about our latest activities in India, please have a look at our factsheet.

India is one of the growing economies that will reshape the global economy in the twenty-first century. Europe is the world's largest trading power. Both sides are involved in key negotiations to boost trade and investment at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and bilaterally through an ambitious Free Trade Agreement.

Our bilateral trade has more than doubled in the last decade, making the European Union Indias number one trade and investment partner. Two-way trade in goods between the EU and India reached EUR 77.3 billion in 2015, or EUR 211 million per day. If we add services, total trade now exceeds EUR 100 billion/year, or EUR 275 million per day!

Moreover, in addition to being the main destination for Indian outward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the EU is also India's most important source of inward FDI - after Mauritius – with almost EUR 5 billion of EU outward investment to India in 2014. Investment from India destined for the EU was over EUR 1 billion. At the end of 2014, the total stock of Indian FDI in the EU was EUR 6.7 billion and the total stock of EU FDI in India was EUR 38.5 billion.

The EU and India hope to increase their trade in both goods and services - as well as investment - through the negotiations for a free trade agreement (better known as Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement – BTIA) that they launched in 2007.

Europe is the world's largest trading bloc

The EU is the world’s biggest trader, accounting for 16.5% of the world's imports and exports. Free trade among its members was one of the EU's founding principles, and it is committed to liberalising world trade as well.

The EU is the world's largest exporter of manufactured goods and services, and is the biggest import market for more than one hundred countries. It is also the world's largest single market area, with more than 500 million consumers, as well as the world's largest foreign direct investor and recipient of foreign direct investment

In this ‘borderless’ Europe, people and products can move freely from one place to another. The 28 Member States of the European Union share a single market, a single external border and a single trade policy. European Union Member States have agreed to pool their sovereignty and follow a common policy on international trade. It means there is one negotiation, one negotiator – the European Commission – and at the end of the process just one agreement instead of 28 different sets of trade rules with each of Europe's trading partners. The Commission also represents the EU Member States in the WTO.

Member State embassies in partner countries are in charge of export promotion and offer a wide range of services to their national operators, including helping them to understand the Indian market better, find local contacts, carry out in-depth research on the market for their goods and attend trade fairs.


In October 2015, the European Commission presented 'Trade for All', a renewed trade and investment strategy which takes stock of the crucial developments in world's economy during the last few years. The strategy foresees a responsible approach responding to new economic realities in line with the EU's foreign policy.

The EU is the world's biggest trading bloc, and more than 30 million EU jobs depend on exports; on the other hand, 90 % of future global growth will happen outside Europe's borders. The new strategy will make trade agreements more effective and create more opportunities, thus supporting jobs in Europe. The new strategy is also a direct response to the intense debate on trade currently under way in the EU – including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is being negotiated with the United States. It also implements the Juncker Commission's pledge to listen and respond to the European public’s concerns.

In the words of EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. "Trade policy must become more effective, more transparent and more in tune with our values. In short, it must become more responsible. That's what we’re doing."

The new strategy makes EU trade policy more responsible by basing it on three key principles:

Effectiveness: Making sure trade actually delivers on its promise of new economic opportunities. That means addressing the issues that affect today's economy, including services and digital trade; it also means providing the means and information necessary for ensuring that European small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), consumers and workers can take full advantage of – and adapt to – more open markets.

Transparency: Opening up negotiations to more public scrutiny by publishing key negotiating texts from all negotiations, as has been done in the TTIP negotiations.

Values: Safeguarding the European social and regulatory model at home. Using trade agreements and preference programmes as levers to for the worldwide promotion of European values such as sustainable development, human rights, fair and ethical trade and the fight against corruption.

These three principles ensure that trade policy benefits as many people as possible.

The text of 'Trade for All' can be downloaded here.

India is rapidly integrating with the global economy

At 1.25 billion, India is the second most populous state and largest democracy in the world. With an annual GDP growth rate in excess of 7.5 % for over a decade it is now in the world’s top ten largest economies (4th by PPP).

As such, India is an important trade and investment partner for the EU, combining a sizable and growing market with one of the fastest growing economies in the world - arguably the fastest among the big economies.

Although it is far from the closed market that it was twenty years ago, India still maintains substantial tariff and non-tariff barriers that hinder trade with the EU.

For more information on trade, please refer to the documents and links at the bottom of this page.

Promoting Research and Innovation represents an increasingly important policy objective, both for the EU (cf. e.g. its "Innovation Union" flagship initiative) and for India (cf. its "Decade of Innovation" initiative), and obviously for many businesses as well.

Following the conclusion of a Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement between India and the European Community in 2001, the participation of Indian universities, research centres, companies, etc. in the EU Framework Programmes has been steadily increasing. In the 7th Framework Programme ("FP7"), for instance, India ranked 4th in terms of participation, and 3rd in total amount of EU financial contribution received. 

Today, extensive opportunities for collaboration are being offered under the new "Horizon 2020" Framework Programme of the European Commission (2014-20), and also under many other schemes, ranging from bilateral programmes of EU member states to multilateral funding platforms such as Inno Indigo.

On the following pages of this web site, more detailed information is available on different sets of issues, namely:

  • The political background and history of EU-India relations regarding research and innovation (bilateral Science and Technology Agreements of 2001 and 2007, Joint Declaration of 2012, Indo-European Research and Innovation Partnership currently being set up, and more),
  • Information regarding collaborative research opportunities between the EU and India (Horizon 2020, EU member states' bilateral programmes, co-ordinated calls for proposals jointly organised with Indian authorities, Inno Indigo multilateral funding platform, facts & figures regarding collaboration under FP7, etc.)
  • Information on opportunities relating to the mobility of individual researchers between the EU and India (and to higher education in the EU): grants of the European Research Council (ERC) and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCAs) under Horizon 2020, Erasmus+ scholarships, higher education and mobility schemes offered by EU member states, etc.
  • Information on EU-funded India-specific support services providing information and/or assistance to European and Indian stakeholders regarding research issues (Inno Indigo, EURAXESS India, European Business Technology Centre (EBTC), etc.).  This page also makes it possible to access many relevant documents and web sites.

This comprehensive brochure summarises a broad range of collaboration opportunities open to Indian researchers and research organisations – especially under the new Horizon 2020 programme, but also under other schemes.

Contact information:

  • Research & Innovation Section:

Tania FRIEDERICHS, Head – R&I Counsellor
Vivek DHAM, Policy officer
Kinchit BIHANI, Policy officer
Tejinder KAUR, Secretary

  • Policy officer for ICT issues: Klaus PENDL (Trade Section)
  • Policy officer for energy, environment and climate change issues: Henriette FAERGEMANN-BREDSTEN
  • Mailbox of the R&I Section: DELEGATION-INDIA-RI@eeas.europa.eu

The environment is a hot topic in the EU-India Partnership. The Joint Action Plan forms the backbone for enhancing cooperation on the environment and climate change.

The EU-India Environment Forum and the EU-India Initiative on Clean Development and Climate Change are two joint commitments aimed at protecting the environment and curbing climate change.

Resource Efficiency and Waste Management
While India’s material consumption per capita is lower than that of other major economies, it is projected to rise substantially causing overall extraction to increase from 5 bn. tonnes at present to 15 bn. tonnes by 2030. The problem of waste, already evident, will increase. Delhi for example produces 8400 tonnes per day, which it is finding difficult to handle.

An EU-India Resource Efficiency Initiative aims to support the newly created Indian Resource Panel in developing strategies for resource efficiency in transport, buildings, renewable energy and waste recovery by promoting partnerships between partners such as businesses, NGOs and academia. Over the next 42 months it will also develop an outreach programme to build awareness of issues and options among agencies in all three groups as well as youth and media.

An EU-India Water Partnership agreed at the March 2016 Summit meeting is currenty being formalised for signature by EU Commissioner for Environment Karmenu Vella and India’s Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharti. The Partnership foresees cooperation in water law and governance; promotion of research, innovation and exchange of business solutions, and joint initiatives to rejuvenate the iconic Ganga river and India’s other water bodies by bringing together a wide community of stakeholders on both sides.

Europe has achieved considerable success in managing its waters based on the Water Framework Directive. Adopted in the year 2000, the law bases the management of water according to river basins, 40 of them international, rather than administrative or political divisions. Member States of the EU have to prepare River Basin Management Plans with the objective of reaching good chemical and ecological status – stringently defined by common standards - before a given deadline. This method has been remarkably successful in improving water quality in the last 15 years. And to leverage the role of researchers and companies, a European Innovation Partnership on Water (EIP Water) both facilitates innovations and supports the creation of market opportunities forthem, establishing another key component for the development of the water sector in Europe.

In anticipation of the formalisation of a partnership an EU-India workshop on River Basin Management and Governance was held on 14-15 June 2016 and another, in collaboration with the OECD and the WWF, on Water Allocation, Water Economics and Environment Flows on 14-15 September 2016. With more than 60 water sector managers from central and state governments participating, there is increased understanding of alternative approaches and success factors in water management on both sides.


The EU is supporting this endeavour with a Clean Energy Cooperation with India initiative which has 3 components:

  • The study FOWIND on offshore wind energy potential followed by FOWPI providing the design for a 200 MW offshore wind farm off the coast of Gujarat or Tamil Nadu.
  • The design and implementation of energy efficiency legislation on the demand side in cooperation with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in 4 states.
  • Assistance to India’s Solar Park programme to enable integration into the electricity grid in a designated green energy corridor.

Members of the Indian Smart Grid Forum participated in the EU-India Smart grid workshops in Nice and Vienna (2015) and most recently (September 2016) in Bornholm Denmark which is the site of the Ecogrid EU project funded by the European Union.

Scope Big, a solar-biomass hybrid power plant in the State of Bihar, is being set up with EU grant assistance of € 8 mn. (Rs. 60 crs.).

Technical assistance is also being provided to the Ministries of Power and Renewable Energy to develop a roof-top solar programme with European experience.

The EU has offered support for the development of a digital platform for the International Solar Alliance spearhead by India and signed on 30th November 2015 in Paris.

As funding for various environmental initiatives in India the European Investment Bank has already committed more than €1.2 billion, mainly in the areas of energy and climate mitigation projects. At the EU-India Summit in March 2016, it signed an Agreement with the Government of India for a loan of € 450 mn. for the metro project in Lucknow city.

An overarching EU-India Clean Energy and Climate Partnership is being developed following the Joint Declaration agreed at the Summit.

EU-India Cooperation: Urbanisation

India’s government has taken up the challenge by launching the 100 Smart Cities Mission and the AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) programme which will develop public transport, sewerage, water supply and public green spaces. The European Union has responded with the following initiatives:

The EU-Mumbai Partnership which has looked at innovative solutions to the challenges faced by a megacity (24 million in the last census) has led to dialogue on all major sectors over the last 3 years, and work is ongoing to scale up cooperation to state and national level with the development of an India-EU Urbanisation Partnership. This has been done with success with other major economies in recent years.

An innovative Metropolitan Lab on Maharashtra’s Sustainable Urbanisation supported by the EU and coordinated by a globally recognised EU expert has concluded 6 days of intensive discussions in Mumbai, leading to concrete ideas on sustainable urbanisation projects. This model shows potential for replication in other Indian megacities.

In Europe, a pan-European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities brings together more than 3,000 civic authorities, industry leaders and civic authorities to develop and replicate best practices in city governance, investment and job creation, environment, transport and waste minimisation. Green Capital Awards instituted by the European Commission have provided financial and other incentives to improvement. Sweden, for example, has reduced the waste accumulated at landfills from 62% to 4%; while buildings in Belgium are being designed to be energy neutral.

Under the EU’s World Cities Programme experts from Pune, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Navi Mumbai have examined sustainability projects in Stuttgart, Lazio and Copenhagen.

In the Clean Technologies and Energy Efficiency for Ecocities project funded by the EU and implemented by the IFC, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Jamshedpur and Mumbai have begun to address their clean technology and energy efficiency needs based on European experience. Priority is being given to strengthening the enabling environment for green buildings through the voluntary green buildings market in India; enabling Climate-Smart Municipal Services; and promoting competitive green SMEs.

Under a Technical Assistance project, best practices in sewage treatment and solid waste management in the cities of Mumbai and Delhi are being exchanged to create an enabling environment for promoting clean technologies.

As part of its programme to work with Urban Local Bodies the EU’s intervention with Pune municipality is improving access to community toilets. A community-led total sanitation initiative has been undertaken in 100 slums to bring about health and hygiene. Raisen and Burhanpur, both in Madhya Pradesh, have set up sewage treatment plants so that domestic wastewater is treated before release into water bodies. The EU initiative in Raisen is also helping improve the storm water drainage systems, public toilets and solid waste management. ICLEI South Asia and their European counterparts have developed a step by step guide for Kishangarh and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and Solapur and Ichalkaranji in Maharashtra to help these cities plan for water, wastewater and storm water. The intervention in Shimla is improving capacities of municipal staff to deliver decentralised waste management. EU support to the All India Institute of Local Self Government (AIILSG) intervention in Nagpur has been promoting equity in delivery of municipal services.

These initiatives and the experience gathered in their implementation will create a rich repository of experts on both sides who are familiar with the problems of urbanisation of the world’s fastest growing urban population on the one hand and the best available ways to tackle them. They will come together in 2017 in a Global EU programme with an Indian element. Called International Urban Cooperation: Sustainable and Innovative Cities and Regions, this project to be implemented over 3 years will have 2 components: a) 12 city-to-city projects contributing to India’s national flagship programmes; and b) a sustainable energy and climate mitigation and adaptation programme integrated into the Global Covenant of Mayors movement in the EU and elsewhere.

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