Agra, 7 December 2019: The Ambassador of the European Union to India, H. E. Mr. Ugo Astuto, visited Agra on Saturday, to participate in an international conference on EU-India strategic partnership and ‘EU Day’ programme on promoting higher education cooperation at St John’s College.
Ambassador Astuto participated at an International Conference on India and the European Union: Exploring New Horizons in Strategic Partnership, in partnership with the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), New Delhi along with interacting with the students and faculty members on Saturday at an ‘EU Day’ at St. John’s College.
Highlighting the importance of the EU-India Strategic Partnership, Ambassador Astuto said, “The EU and India can draw upon shared values of democracy and pluralism and their common belief in multilateralism to foster a co-operative approach to international relations, upholding the values and principles of the UN Charter. We look forward to further building on our collaboration to tackle key global challenges such as climate change and the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals.”
The Ambassador, in his keynote address, discussed the evolution of the EU, its common foreign and security policy, and the growing EU-India cooperation across various fields of common interest. Advocating for greater people-to-people linkages and exchanges, the Ambassador invited the students, researchers and faculty members to avail of various scholarships and funding opportunities available under EU-funded programmes for higher education and research such as the Erasmus+ programme and Horizon 2020. He further spoke about the growing ties between EU-India for enhanced cooperation on regional, global and security issues, close trade and investment links, intensified sectoral cooperation and growing people to people contacts.
Welcome remarks at the conference were delivered by Prof. S P Singh, Principal, St. John’s College followed by Dr. Dinoj Kumar Upadhayay, Research Fellow, ICWA. Chief guest for the occasion was Mr. Narendra Taneja – a political and economic commentator. The conference also had participation from renowned institutes like School of International Studies, JNU, Albaidha University, Yemen, Kakatiya University, Warangal, O P Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Shiv Nadar University, Noida, and IGNOU among others.
Large number of Indian students have availed of EU-funded Erasmus scholarships over the years. Out of 5800 scholarships to Indian students till date, 108 Erasmus+ alumni belong to Uttar Pradesh. Most scholarships have been awarded to students from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (48), Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (11), University of Lucknow (7), Indian Institute of Technology, BHU (4) and University of Allahabad (3). Besides, King George Medical University, Lucknow and Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur are also part of the Capacity Building programs for Higher Education since 2014.
Ambassador Astuto said, “Today over 50,000 Indian students are in Europe, studying a wide range of subjects from Engineering, Computer Sciences, Business and Management, Marketing, Economics, Dentistry, Media, Political Science, and others. Our higher education initiatives also play an important role in boosting bilateral cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. We hope that more students including from Uttar Pradesh will avail themselves of the study opportunities in the EU.”
Besides Erasmus+, European Union agencies are supporting other projects in the state of Uttar Pradesh. For example, the European Investment Bank has extended loan of €450 mn for the Lucknow metro.
About the European Union (EU):
The EU, which consists of 28 countries, has the world's largest economy and its third largest population, after China and India. Though richly diverse, the countries that make up the EU (its 'Member States') are all committed to the same basic values: peace, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. They have set up common institutions so that decisions on matters of joint interest can be made democratically at the European level. By creating a frontier-free single market and a single currency (the euro) which has been adopted by 19 Member States, the EU has given a significant boost to trade and employment. It is also at the forefront of policies on sustainability.
EU-India relations: For over 50 years the EU and India have worked together to reduce poverty, prevent disasters, expand trade, and promote joint research in energy, health, agriculture and many other fields of mutual interest.
More information at: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/india