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'I see 2015 as the renovation of the India-EU relationship': EU Ambassador

ANI  |  New Delhi 

European Union Ambassador to Dr. Joao Cravinho on Wednesday opined that the year 2015 would see the 'renovation' of the relationship between and Brussels, adding that the priorities of both sides are very similar. e are looking forward to what the year 2015 will be in terms of EU-relations. I am very optimistic and very excited because the situation that we have now is that there is a new government in and there has been a changeover in Brussels in November. The mandates of Prime Minister Modi and the EU authorities are more or less the same and when one looks at the political priorities that they have

"In India, one hears about 'Digital India' and in Europe, one hears of 'Digital Europe'. The other issues that are intersecting are that of energy, 'Smart Cities' and urban issues. I would see 2015 as the renovation of the EU-India relationship," he added.

Speaking of the free-trade understanding between the two sides, Dr Cravinho said that was waiting for India to 'define' its position, adding that the ball was in New Delhi's court.

"The free-trade negotiations have been at a standstill for the last year and a half. The year 2014 was not good in that respect but we understand that it is a normal procedure in the cycle of a democracy," he said.

"We are looking for the Indian authorities to define their position and if they are ready to take negotiations up from where we left off and if that is the case, then I am confident that we can move forward quite fast. The ball is in India's court," he added.

As far as the continuing conflict in Ukraine is concerned, Dr Cravinho expressed his opinion that India could possibly exert a positive influence on the proceedings, as far as its relationship with Russia is concerned.

"I think India is one of the major players of the international system and what we have heard from the Indian government is an increasing level of engagement in the big issues of our times. I believe that the Ukrainian conflict is where India can have a positive influence because of its longstanding friendship with Russia," he said.

First Published: Wed, February 18 2015. 16:51 IST