Talking to media persons in New Delhi on Tuesday, EU ambassador to India Ugo Astuto, responding to media queries stated that the visit to the valley by the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs') was not "an expression of EU's policy decision".
The European Union (EU) has expressed concerned about the situation in Kashmir and has urged India to restore the freedom of movement and normalcy there. Talking to media persons in New Delhi on Tuesday, EU ambassador to India Ugo Astuto, responding to media queries stated that the visit to the valley by the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs’) was not “an expression of EU’s policy decision”. On the Citizen Amendment Bill (CAB), the EU envoy said “The principle of equality was enshrined in the Indian Constitution.” And expressed hope that it would be upheld.
To a question about Pakistan and its terrorist attacks on India, he said that the neighbouring country should take action against militants and terrorists operating from its soil. “Both sides should try to resolve issues through dialogue,” Astuto said.
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Responding to questions related to the stalled India-EU FTA, also known as the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), the EU envoy said that the two sides have to sort out issues in several areas including the procurement, labour standards and sustainability, to ensure that the talks can get back on track.
According to him, “Complex issues such as labour matters, sustainability and government procurements need to be discussed as these are part and parcel for all our Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).” Adding, “The discussions on technical issues continue.”
To a question related to the draft personal data protection Bill 2018, that was recently cleared by the Union Cabinet, according to the EU ambassador “The process is still ongoing and we are hoping that there is a convergence of the Bill with EU regulations, so that free flow of data can go on.”
India-EU Summit 2020
The EU ambassador also confirmed that the next India-EU summit will be taking place in the first half of 2020. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be travelling to Brussels for the next summit.
Recently he had spoken to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and had expressed his desire to work together for strengthening India-EU partnership.