India-EU Current Affairs - 2020

India attends Munich Security Conference in Germany

The Munich Security Conference is being held in Germany between February 14, 2020 and February 16, 2020. The Conference was attended by External Affairs minister Jaishankar representing India.

Highlights

The Minister met his counterparts of Georgia, Portugal and Lithuania on the sidelines of the conference. The minister his Portugal Counterpart as a backdrop of its President visiting India. With Portugal to preside over the leadership of the European Union council, there are good opportunities for India to extend its relations with European Union.

Munich Security Conference

The Conference is one of the world’s leading forum that debates on international security policy. Every year more than 350 officials from 70 countries attend the conference. It includes heads of the states, members of parliaments, representatives of armed forces, business, media. etc. It was founded in 1963.

The other events conducted on the sidelines of the summit include Cyber Security Summit and Energy Security Summit. The cyber Security Summit was first launched in 2012. The Energy security summit was first started in 2013.

India-EU Summit: EU President calls on PM Modi

On December 21, 2019, the EU President called on PM Modi to discuss regarding an early India-EU summit 2020. It is expected that the leaders will discuss on making progress on the issues related to Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), Europol, counter-terrorism, Euroatom, climate change, etc. The summit is to be held in Brussels.

What is BTIA?

The BTIA is a free trade agreement that was initiated between India and EU in the year 2007. Even after years of negotiations the countries are yet to resolve the deadlock that prevails in and around the issues of fulfilling BTIA.

Obstacles of BTIA

The countries have their own concerns in signing the agreement. India is concerned that it has not been given “data secure” status by the EU. Also, the visa rules of UK have discriminated against Indian technical professionals. In 2016, India cancelled several bilateral agreements signed earlier with the EU claiming that they were outdated.

EU wants India to reduce tax on liquor, automobiles. However, in the interest of promoting domestic automobile industry, India is unable to fulfill the demand. EU also wants India to liberalize legal services and accountancy. It also wants India to sign pacts that will allow investors to avail Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism at the WTO.