June 23, 2017

India & European Union Collaboration – an untapped potential – Make Room India!

Although the co-operation between India and EU has come a long way, from 1962 to be precise, it is still an untapped potential filled with opportunities and funding available to benefit both India and EU

In a world of increasing nationalism and protectionism, unions and collaboration among communities and nations are paramount for maintaining peace, growing prosperity and fostering economic development. Although the co-operation between India and EU has come a long way, from 1962 to be precise, it is still an untapped potential. On 30 March 2016, the EU hosted the 13th EU-India summit where the discussions fundamentally focused on trade and investment, energy and climate, water, migration, foreign and security policies. Current leaders of both the EU and India, the EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Council Donald Tusk and the PM of India Narendra Modi agreed to further strengthening the EU-India relations and to establish the EU-India Agenda for Action 2020. To read more on the Action Agenda click here!

            For a nation to prosper and grow, more often than not, there are points when it is necessary to find innovative ways to develop, solve issues and the exchange of best practices for governance, leadership, administration in certain sectors becomes crucial. This is essentially why strategic relations are devised, in order to solve major local and global issues. In the 13th summit, leaders of both India and EU proclaimed their duty to invigorate the existing strategic partnership and confirmed their strong interest in mutually building global peace, security and prosperity, fostering non-proliferation and disarmament, creating jobs and inclusive economic growth, promoting sustainable development, and tackling global challenges such as terrorism and climate change in addition to other challenges such as migration and refugee crisis. “India and EU desire to intensify their commitment to their economic partnership. The EU’s Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change and India’s “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” – (“Collective Efforts, Inclusive Growth”) initiatives create new opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation between people and businesses on both sides. Both India and EU agreed that they would improve the partnership to fight against terrorism, hatred and violent extremism.

        The EU is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for 13% of India’s overall trade (in 2015 the total value of EU-India trade in goods reached €77.5 billion) and also first foreign investor. India is the EU’s 9th largest partner, with the value of EU exports to India amounting to €38.1 billion in 2015. The total value of EU-India trade stood at €77.5 billion in 2015. The European Union’s development cooperation with India has a successful track record, spanning over several decades. The relationship has evolved from providing traditional development assistance to a mutually beneficial partnership. For the current EU budgetary period 2014-2020, India has been categorised as a “graduated” country and thus EU bilateral development aid (DCI) is being finalised; however the thematic and regional co-operation continues.

The political governance, macro level public authorities are doing their bit to strengthen the strategic cooperation, but there needs to be an organization at the societal, grassroots level working on creating an environment for exchange of best practices within entrepreneurship, education, youth affairs, culture and human rights sectors. Recently Indian-European Social Change Ecosystem, Make Room India, was established in order to bridge the gap and work on connecting social change activists, entrepreneurs, grassroots practitioners to work on developing solutions to problems found both in Europe and India. The ecosystem does not limit its status to that of an institution; instead it acts as a larger network connecting not only people but various institutions, government initiatives that work on fostering collaboration between India and EU.

The ecosystem was launched by Mr. C-Kellman and Mr. Pranav Hebbar. During my phone interview and from the sources available online, it is visible that Mr.C-Kellman has an extensive experience of working with projects supported by the European Commission and Council of Europe at various levels in youth mobility, education, entrepreneurship and human rights between Africa and Europe especially in enhancing citizen involvement in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Latvia and Spain. Mr. Hebbar comes from the entrepreneurship education program and has dedicated his life in guiding entrepreneurs, building cross-cultural capacity building programs to strengthen youth’s entrepreneurial capacity.

After my chat with the founders I have understand the ecosystem is very much open for collaboration with individuals, organizations, educational institutions to explore possible collaborations between EU and India and work out specific models of partnership for exchange of best practices, development and mutual benefit.

Written by Trishita Gosh

 

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