India-EU Current Affairs - 2020

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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 In 2016, India cancelled several bilateral agreements signed earlier with the EU claiming that they were outdated.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.

European Investment Bank to stop Fossil Fuel Funding by 2021

The European Investment Bank is to stop funding oil and coal projects at the end of 2021. Since 2013, the European Union through the bank has funded 13.4 billion Euros for fossil fuel projects. In 2018, it was around 2 billion Euros. The Union has been reducing its funding to fossil fuel projects and is stopping by 2021.

Highlights

  • The EIB’s new policy demands that the energy projects applying for funding must prove that they can produce 1 Kilo watt hour of energy emitting less than 250 grams of carbon dioxide.
  • The new rules being adopted are not applicable to gas-based energy projects. However, gas projects should be based on the norms set by the bank for “new technologies”. The “new technologies” include carbon capture, combining heat and power generation, mixing in renewable gases with fossil fuels, etc.
  • The exemptions are made on gas projects as they are common in the EU member states. For the next 5 years, EU has over 200 billion USD worth projects planned.

EU aims to become first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.