PM Modi and EU leaders fail to reach common ground on India’s call for a waiver of patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines.India and the European Union (EU) on Saturday announced the resumption of negotiations on three balanced and comprehensive trade-related agreements but were unable to reach common ground on New Delhi’s call for a waiver of patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines.
During a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders of the 27 EU member states, the two sides also unveiled an ambitious connectivity partnership to foster public and private investments in connectivity projects and take up joint projects in Africa, Central Asia and the Indo-Pacific. This is only the EU’s second such partnership after a similar arrangement with Japan.
The agreement on resumption of trade negotiations, which were started in 2007 and suspended in 2013 after major differences on issues such as market access and mobility of Indian professionals, was described by secretary (West) Vikas Swarup of the external affairs ministry as the “most important outcome” of the summit. Both Michel and Von der Leyen expressed solidarity and support for India to counter a devastating second wave of Covid-19 infections, which has seen daily cases crossing the 400,000 mark in recent days.
The two sides agreed to have dedicated dialogues on WTO issues, regulatory cooperation, market access issues and supply chain resilience. The high-level trade and investment dialogue will monitor progress on these decisions.
They also discussed how technology should be used for the welfare of the people while being rooted in democratic values. They also emphasized the need for secure networks and agreed to cooperate on global standards in new and emerging technologies such as 5G.