The Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union “will put India on the ‘screen’ of the EU’s political agenda”, the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said, adding that this “is a major political step”, even if a trade agreement is “very difficult”.
In an interview with Lusa on Friday, on the sidelines of the commissioners’ visit to Lisbon under the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, Borrell acknowledged that a comprehensive trade agreement with India is not yet within reach, but stressed the political importance of a revival of the relationship.
“This is very difficult. A trade agreement with India is very difficult to achieve because India is a country with very defensive policies on trade aspects”, he said.
“But look at the simple fact that we put India on the ‘screen’ of the European Union’s political agenda. He stressed that “everyone is talking about China, the United States, Russia, but India is the biggest democracy in the world, it will soon have more inhabitants than China and it is a land of opportunity”.
He went on to say that “the pressure from the Portuguese presidency could lead to the conclusion of agreements.
“Not only Mercosur, let’s not forget Mexico and Chile, which are also pending. I believe that Portugal can be extraordinarily useful in achieving this”, he told Lusa.
Borrell said the EU “must seek alliances with [countries and regions] that think alike, that have the same vision of the world or at least that have the same political system”.
“And that is not just the Americans. In the Pacific as a whole, the Indo-Pacific, as they say now, there are many democracies”, he said, stressing that they are countries that the EU “must have alliances” with.
“We have to look for our way of doing things, to defend our interests and our values, as we are mandated by the founding treaty”.