Tuesday January 22, 2019
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Next Indo-EU summit scheduled for the end of 2015

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Brussels: The next summit between the European Union and India, is expected to be held by the end of this year, probably in November, after a gap of nearly three years, according to EU and Indian officials.

Manjeev Singh Puri , Ambassador of India to the EU, Belgium and Luxembourg, speaking at an event on EU-India ties in Brussels on Tuesday, said “we hope we will be able to put together the big event that we believe can kickstart at the highest political level before the year is over.”

“There are conversations going on that. Politics has an important role to play. It has a leadership thrust ability, it has the ability to push things forward,” he noted.

“But I believe, that business, on the other hand is that engine which results in political leaders, and everyone else looking to move things forward,” he stated.

The speaker of the Lok Sabha, Sumitra Mahajan, will be leading a large parliamentary delegation to Brussels next week, to strengthen bilateral parliamentary ties, announced Puri.

On his part, Zoran Stancic, European Commission Deputy Director-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology , said he “fully agrees that the long due summit, which hopefully we will have this year could be a good opportunity where our political masters get together.”

The event titled ‘Europe, India and Modi – One year on’ was organised by a Brussels-based think tank, Friends of Europe, in association with Europe India Chamber of Commerce and Tata Consultancy Services.

The moderator of the event, Shada Islam, Director of Policy at Friends of Europe, lauded the Indian prime minister saying “Modi has been shaking up India, and shaking up the world perception of India.”

“It is high time that the EU and India get their relationship to a new start. The sooner we get the deal on a free trade agreement, the better,” she said.

Speakers also addressed the issue of boosting the EU-India trade and investment flows, which are still at a modest 72.5 billion and 5 billion euro respectively.

Another topic raised was- how to overcome the present stalemate in negotiations on an EU-India Free Trade Agreement.

Other speakers at the event included Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Tata Consultancy Services, Shishir Bajoria, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and head of the Bajoria Group of Industries and Luisa Santos, Director for International Relations at the think tank BusinessEurope. (IANS)

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British Parliament To Vote On Withdrawal Agreement Negotiated With The EU

Some lawmakers have proposed holding a second referendum like the one in 2016 that set Britain on the path toward leaving the EU.

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Britain, European Union, May
Anti-Brexit supporters hold European Union flags as they demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament on Jan. 14, 2019. VOA

Britain’s parliament votes Tuesday on the withdrawal agreement that Prime Minister Theresa May’s government negotiated with the European Union.

May canceled a previous vote in December when it was clear she did not have enough votes for the deal to pass, and since then little seems to have changed.

Both pro- and anti-Brexit lawmakers oppose the terms of the agreement. May sought to garner last-minute support Monday by asking them to examine it again while warning of the consequences if the deal fails.

The biggest point of contention has been the arrangement to have an open border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland that would keep Britain in some way tied to EU trade policies until the two sides can negotiate a new trade deal.

In a Tuesday radio interview International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said it was not acceptable for the unelected House of Lords to try to block the democratic will of the British people, who voted by a 52-48 margin in June, 2016 to leave the EU.
The Independent newspaper Tuesday night reported that May was preparing for a Brexit meeting with select cabinet ministers Wednesday at which they will try to come up with a joint position on post-withdrawal customs relations following rejection of Britain’s existing proposals. wikimedia commons

EU leaders said Monday the so-called “backstop” arrangement would only be in place as long as necessary.

Negotiators from Britain and the European Union agreed to the terms of the Brexit deal in November after difficult talks, and if the British parliament votes against the agreement there is great uncertainty about what will happen next.

Also Read: Brexit Consequences Getting Tougher for Theresa May

May would have until next Monday to put forth a new proposal. There is also the chance Britain could reach its March 29 withdrawal deadline with no terms in place to specify just how it will relate to the European Union when it is no longer a member.

Some lawmakers have proposed holding a second referendum like the one in 2016 that set Britain on the path toward leaving the EU. Others want parliament to take control of the Brexit process from May and her Cabinet. (VOA)