Expressing these views while interacting with media persons at the Panjab University on Friday, EU Ambassador to India Tomasz Kozlowski said the parameters of a sound economy – investments, employment and exports – were showing a steady increase and the all important consumer confidence had risen to the highest level in the last 16 years. The growth rate of the economy in EU as a whole is expected to be 2.3 percent this year, which is the fastest pace of growth in the last 10 years, he added.
The EU Ambassador was in Chandigarh on the occasion of EU Day being organised by the Panjab University. He participated in an international conference on the theme “EU-India Cooperation on Foreign Policy and Security - Challenges and Opportunities - & EU Higher Education Initiatives.
Kozlowski said the political leadership in EU and India were on the same page and recent official-level and summit meetings had helped firm up the resolve from both sides to take this four decades old relationship to new heights. Though EU continues to remain India’s single largest trading partner, despite Brexit, with a combined balanced trade surpassing 100 billion Euros, both sides feel that it was well below the huge potential. Renewed efforts to close the long standing and ticklish free trade agreement (FTA) between the EU and India was a clear indication of the common thought process, he shared.
The areas of EU-India cooperation now include foreign policy and security issues, trade and economics, sustainable development and modernisation, research and innovation as well as people-to-people contacts. In the field of science and technology, the two sides were in the process of taking up projects on shared funding pattern in many areas, including water, energy, health, advanced materials and nanotechnology, bio-economy, information and communication technology, green transport and polar research.
On cooperation in combating terrorism, the EU Ambassador said both sides were taking concrete measures for decisive and concerted actions against globally proscribed terrorists and terror entities, including chose known to be operating from India’s neighbouring country.
Inviting Indian Students For Full Scholarships
Citing numerous opportunities for Indian students to avail of full scholarships under various EU-funded programmes for higher education and research like Erasmus+, Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions, the Jean Monnet Programme and Horizon 2020, Kozlowski said up to 2017 as many as 5,367 Indians had already benefited from the famous Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degree Programme alone (600 of them from Punjab), making India the single largest beneficiary of the programme.
He said currently 50,000 Indian students were studying in various universities in the EU and the figures are rising steadily. All the universities offering the scholarships have English as a medium of teaching, he said adding that 120 Indian universities had already been involved in active exchange programmes with EU universities, and around 100 in joint master programmes or capacity-building projects.