Towards an EU-India Partnership on Urbanisation
GRF and FES India delivered a Seminar on “EU-India Cooperation on Sustainable Urbanisation” in Pune, India, in September 2016, and produced a Policy Brief on “Charting a Sustainable Future: EU-India Platforms on Energy and Climate Change and Urban Development”, as well as one on “India’s View on Human Security: Citizens First, Holistic Urbanisation and Cooperation with the European Union”.
More than a decade since the EU-India strategic partnership was launched, there is more pessimism than promise about its future. Negotiations on the EU-India free trade agreement (FTA), the partnership’s biggest initiative, remain at an impasse and cooperation on foreign policy issues is minimal. Overall, confidence has waned from the relationship and the EU-India strategic partnership is in desperate need of a relaunch. Both sides however seem to be at a loss on new avenues for cooperation which could prove truly transformative for the EU-India strategic partnership.
But as India strongly pursues its urban development agenda and transformation to a global manufacturing hub, one such alternative could be the establishment of an EU-India Partnership on Urbanisation. Such a partnership would not only open up significant mutually beneficial opportunities thereby circumventing jammed FTA negotiations, but would also reinstate the strategic quotient in the partnership. As a long-term investment, the EU-India Urbanisation Partnership could effectively contribute to enhancing the perception of the EU as a strategic partner in New Delhi and allow the EU to confirm its commitment to promoting sustainable development in India.