A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and India is expected to be finalized this autumn.
This was announced by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso on Friday following signing of agreements at the India-EU Summit in New Delhi.
He reported significant progress in negotiations in which "our positions are now closer in all areas and the contours of the final agreement are emerging. We have therefore committed to intensify these negotiations."
The EU-India FTA will be the world's single biggest trade pact benefiting 1.7 billion people. It would mean new opportunities for both Indian and European companies. It would mean a key driver for sustainable growth, job creation and innovation in India and Europe.
Barroso said India and the EU, two "like-minded global players, together could help shape a rules-based world. In fact we are broadening our cooperation with India to address common challenges such as climate change and energy security," he added.
The two sides on Friday signed several Declarations on important areas.
On the basis of the joint declaration on energy, EU and India will work together on key areas to enhance energy security, promote energy efficiency and energy safety, and the development of low carbon energy sources, notably renewable energy. Barroso said this was not only good for the environment, but would also boost businesses and create jobs.
On Research and Innovation, where India is already actively participating in EU Research Framework Programs, the two sides signed a declaration aiming at broadening their cooperation.
On a second financial assistance program for Greece, Barroso said an agreement was reached at staff level between the Troika of creditors and the Greek authorities. Additional discussions are now taking place to clarify some points of disagreement namely between the Ministers of the Eurogroup.
He expressed confidence that "a solution will be reached next week as this is critically important for Greece and the Greek citizens first and foremost but also for the whole euro area. He stressed the "responsibility and the leadership of the Greek leaders and all members of the Eurozone so that we can obtain this goal that is important for the euro area and indeed for the global economy."
"We are indeed making very important changes in Europe - structural reforms, better governance and these changes are part of the wave of reforms that are necessary to increase Europe's competitiveness and Europe's contribution to growth," he added.
He said that "Europe is doing what it takes - and will continue to do what it takes - to restore confidence."
Delivering remarks at the summit, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the two sides adopted two declarations for enhancing the cooperation on energy and for launching an innovation partnership.
He announced that EU and India made good progress on a security agenda for 2012 in the areas of counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and cyber security.
by RTT Staff Writer
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