We want to upgrade our relationship and therefore we have decided to propose a strategic partnership between EU and India at the forthcoming Indo-EU summit in The Hague next month, ECs director general of external relations E Landaburu said.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi after signing EUs first constitutional treaty in Rome, Mr Landaburu said: The level of ambition between the two will decide the issues to be included under such a partnership.
He identified four specific areas which can be developed with Indias help. These include: international co-operation through multilateralism, fight against terrorism, non-proliferation and human rights; strengthening of economic partnerships through sectoral and regulatory policy dialogues; co-operation in development policies to help India meet millennium development goals and finally fostering intellectual and cultural exchanges.
Mr Landaburu said the new constitution will help ease accession of new members to EU. He said this would help EU make further progress in foreign policy and defence sector.
According to Antonio Armellini, Italys ambassador to India, the constitution will provide a clearer and sharper international profile to EU. It would also speed up decision-making in a club embracing 25 nations, he said.
The treaty was the result of 28 months of acrimonious debate between 25 EU governments. It has to be ratified by the national parliaments. At least, nine EU nations are planning to put it to a referendum. Chances are that it may not take effect in 2007, as scheduled. A no result in any country would stop the constitution in its tracks, said Mr Armellini.