Danish speaker hopeful of early India- European Union FTA conclusion; hails India-Denmark ties

World Tuesday 05/March/2024 06:19 AM
Danish speaker hopeful of early India- European Union FTA conclusion; hails India-Denmark ties

New Delhi: Visiting Danish Parliament Speaker Soren Gade has expressed hope for an early conclusion of the India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations.

The EU and India had first launched negotiations for an FTA in 2007, but talks were suspended in 2013. Discussions resumed on June 17, 2022.

"When I was here just after the COVID and met the minister of trade, we discussed this (FTA) because I was representing the European Parliament. I and your minister were optimistic. But after the CBAM (Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism), non-trade issues have come up in the Free Trade Agreement discussions and it has made it all more difficult," the Danish speaker said while speaking to ANI on Monday.

"India, of course, is a little sceptical on those two issues. After the election and after India has made an agreement with FTA countries, hopefully, there can be a restart of the FTA with Europe. Europe needs India and hopefully, India feels like it needs Europe too," he said.

Speaking further about the India-Denmark relations, Gade said that despite being a smaller country (60 lakh population) and smaller economy, being considered as friends is "something special."

"I'm honoured that India also pays attention to a small country like Denmark. We have had 75 years of friendship and may it continue in decades to come. In a few years, India will be an even bigger economy than it is today, hopefully, we can still be friends. Today India is number five in the world economically, and in one, two, three years, it will be number three... It is something special that we are still considered as friends and I can still, as a representative from a small country, see ministers in India and that's an honour for me and my colleagues from the Danish Parliament," said the speaker.

Gade went on to underscore the importance of New Delhi and Copenhagen partnership that is needed to take the journey forward.

"Even though I'm from a very small country, we can do a lot on the green deal together. We have to transfer technology to India because we made a lot of mistakes in the past and we will not repeat them in the future... India has a right to be a developed country. On this journey, a lot of technology is needed, especially to reduce climate change. And that is the reason why we are here also to encourage this green partnership", he said.

Lauding India as a democracy, the speaker highlighted further how the two countries are easier to get closer.

"We share values on democracy, freedom of speech and rule of law. That is the reason why not only India and Denmark, but India and the European Union should have closer ties because it's much easier to be friends with countries where you have the same values", said Gade.

"In the world right now, you have wars going on, you have non-democracies trying to say what's right or wrong, then those countries with the same values, as we have, should stick together. Because fewer people in the world today are living in a democratic country than it was 20 years ago", he added.

Gade during his India visit met National President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), JP Nadda.

The official account of BJP National President JP Nadda shared on X (formerly Twitter), "Today, BJP National President Shri @JPNadda ji welcomed a Danish delegation led by Speaker Mr. Soren Gade, accompanied by deputy speakers and Amb @svane_freddy. The discussions revolved around India's impending elections, the BJP organization, and the various initiatives of the Modi government."

Danish Ambassador Freddy Svane also reflected on the discussions, tweeting, "Engaging and insightful discussion between Party President Nadda and the Speaker of the Danish Parliament, Soeren Gade, along with the deputy speakers."

Speaker during his visit also met with Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal.
'Discussions focused on the progress of the India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) & new avenues to further strengthen the economic ties between the two countries', said a tweet.

India and Denmark established diplomatic relations in September 1949. Bilateral relations were elevated to the level of "Green Strategic Partnership" during the Virtual Summit held on September 28, 2020 between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen.

The current development of renewed India-Denmark relations has been guided by the "Green Strategic Partnership".