EU-India summit: Global woes to top agenda

September 27th, 2008 - 9:47 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghBrussels, Sep 27 (DPA) Global warming, global security and the global financial crisis are set to top the agenda when the European Union (EU) and India are scheduled to hold their annual summit in Marseille, France Monday.According to the French government, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, the summit is set to agree on an “action plan” on cooperation in peace and security issues, sustainable development, science and technology and “person-to-person contacts”.

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and top EU officials are also set to sign a deal paving the way for cooperation on civil aviation and discuss trade relations.

The leaders are likely to spend more time on global woes such as climate change and financial instability.

The EU has already pledged to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2, the gas most closely associated with global warming) to at least 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and has urged developing powers to pledge their own cuts.

But while an earlier draft of the declaration said “the leaders agreed on the need to reduce global emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050,” that phrase was omitted from the latest version, leaving only a pledge to “work towards a long-term global goal”.

The global financial crisis is also set to dominate proceedings after Sarkozy called for a summit of world leaders before the end of the year to “draw the lessons” of the crisis.

The draft declaration says that the EU and India “discussed the pressing need to address the impact of current problems in the international financial sector” - a message Monday’s meeting is likely to reinforce.

In the same speech, Sarkozy called for the UN Security Council to be enlarged and for India, China, Mexico, South Africa and Brazil to join the Group of eight leading industrial nations (G8).

Diplomats in Brussels said they expect Singh to raise the question of a permanent Security Council seat for India, but that the EU has no joint position on the issue.

The summit is also set to discuss security problems in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Iran’s controversial nuclear programme.

The current draft expresses “deep concern” at the security situation on the Pakistan-Afghan border and stresses that the situation “requires sustained action by the government of Pakistan”.

But it strikes out a call for Iran to “respect UN resolutions” on halting uranium enrichment, instead calling for more diplomatic efforts and a “central” role for the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

EU officials say the bloc would like to discuss the possibility of opening trade in peaceful nuclear technology with India after the so-called Nuclear Suppliers’ Group gave the green light to such trade in early September, but that the idea is at a “very early stage”.

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