Tomasz Kozlowski, the ambassador of the European Union, has said that post-Brexit the interest in India to strengthen relationship with EU has increased and EU is now perceived as a much more relevant partner. He said Britain’s exit will not affect EU, it will only present different type of challenges and difficulties. He added the European integration is a political project and the strong will among member states to continue is strong. There is a new positive mood about our future, Kozlowski said. The EU ambassador was in Pune as part of the outreach programme to take its relationship beyond trade and investment and inter-governmental talks and bring in more people to people connections across academics, culture films and books.
He opined that even after Britain exits, EU will continue to be number one trading partner, the largest FDI contributor and a major investor in the manufacturing sector.
There are 6,000 European companies that have invested in India and €100 billion in FDI flows into India, the ambassador said. The European Investment Bank has committed €1.7 billion in India for this year for projects ranging from metro rail project in Bengaluru and Lucknow, Indian Solar Alliance, solar parks, funding to National Housing Bank to fund green house project developers and several water initiatives.
The October 2017 India-EU summit had injected a new quality to the India-EU relationship, he said. Amid a lot of uncertainties in the global arena, the EU offered a predictable and stable partnership. “India and EU are natural partners. We have common responsibilities in preserving international orders, peace and stability,” the EU ambassador said. We have identified areas of convergence and are working on instruments to implement common interest, Kozlowski said further. The Savitribai Phule Pune University’s department of defence and strategic studies organised an EU Day on Friday with students getting acquainted with EU.
There are 50,00 Indian students in the EU studying on scholarships and schemes. Around 5,300 Indian students were part of the Erasmus Programme which makes student eligible to study in EU. The European Union is working on a project to match 12 Indian cities with 12 cities in Europe and encouraging them to work together in areas of common interest and concerns. Kozlowski said he had written to 34 Indian cities. The ambassador said there was high interest in Europe to cooperate with Indian cities. Around 90 European cities were keen on establishing ‘twin’ relationships with Indian cities and they were in the process of selecting these cities, he said.