EU-India Civil Society Round Table to meet in Paris

July 11th, 2008 - 11:27 am ICT by IANS  

Brussels, July 11 (IANS) Climate change, migration, trade and investment are the main topics on the agenda of the 12th meeting of the EU-India Round Table which would take place in Paris July 15-16, EuAsiaNews reported. “India is a very important partner for Europe. The meeting in Paris is very important because there are important topics on the agenda,” said Dimitris Dimitriadis, president of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in an interview with EuAsiaNews.

He said he was going to exchange ideas with the Indian side on how to promote closer cooperation between the 27-member European bloc and India.

Madi Sharma, EESC’s British representative, underlined the important role of civil society in promoting EU-India cooperation and relations.

“The civil society’s role is to bring the voice of the man on the street both in Europe and India to the political decision-making process,” she told EuAsiaNews.

Sharma noted that the role of the civil society in India is not yet as strong as it is in Europe, although it is growing dramatically.

She said an India-EU Internet forum has been created to link up civil society from both sides and thereby expand and deepen India-EU relations.

The creation of a Round Table (RT) was based on the idea shared by former India’s foreign minister Jaswant Singh and the then European Union commissioner for external relations Chris Patten that civil society could help foster mutual understanding and cooperation.

The RT is meant as a permanent forum for discussion and dialogue at civil society level on all questions of the EU-India relations. It is composed of 30 members, 15 from each side.

The RT is chaired by two co-chairs: the president of the EESC on the European side and a person of similar eminence from the Indian side.

Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, who led the Indian delegation in the negotiations for the UN framework Convention on Climate Change and is currently at the Energy and Resources Institute of New Delhi, will chair the Indian delegation at the Paris meeting.

Conclusions of the RT will be submitted to the EU-India Summit to be held in Marseille Sep 29.

For the 12th Round Table, the EESC has asked a French think tank IDDRI (Institut du d

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