PM Narendra Modi, France President Emmanuel Macron discuss positive outcomes of India-EU Leaders' meet

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke over phone on Wednesday and discussed the positive outcomes of the recently concluded India-EU Leaders’ Meeting.

India and the European Union (EU) had on May 8 announced their decision to resume negotiations for a balanced and comprehensive trade agreement after a gap of eight years and unveiled an ambitious connectivity partnership, during a virtual meeting between Prime Minister Modi and leaders of 27 member nations of the bloc.

During their telephonic conversation, the prime minister and the French president agreed that the announcements regarding resumption of negotiations for balanced and comprehensive free trade and investment agreements, and India-EU Connectivity Partnership were welcome steps, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement.

Modi thanked Macron for the assistance rendered by France to India’s Covid response, it said.

The leaders discussed bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest, and expressed their satisfaction at the positive outcomes of the recently concluded India-EU Leaders’ Meeting, the PMO said.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the depth and strength that the India-France Strategic Partnership has acquired in recent years and agreed to continue working closely together in the post-Covid era.

Prime Minister Modi also reiterated his invitation to President Macron to visit India as soon as conditions permit, the statement said.

The India-EU meeting, participated by leaders of EU member states as well as the top leadership of the EU, had also decided to launch negotiations on two other key agreements on investment protection and geographical indications.

The negotiations for the ambitious free trade agreement, launched in 2007, were suspended in 2013 amidst difference on crucial issues, including tariff rules and market access.

During that meeting earlier this month, Modi had also invited the EU to support a proposal by India and South Africa to waive patents on COVID-19 vaccines so that there can be equitable vaccine access for the entire world.