The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India (EU Chambers) has organized EU Day 2017 on 12th May 2017 at the Crystal Room, The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India, in association with the Delegation of European Union to India and the Consulate General of the Hungary Mumbai has organized EU Day celebration in Mumbai.

EU as an economic block represents 28-member countries in Europe. And, The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India represents business interest of these 28 EU member countries.

The event was graced by galaxy of dignitaries: Ambassador , Consul Generals not only from EU member nations but also from other non-EU nations.

Mr Chandramowli Srinivasan, President of the Council welcomed His Excellency Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador, Delegation to European Union to India, Mrs. Sujata Saunik, Principal Secretary, Financial Reforms, Finance Department, Government of Maharashtra and all present at the occasion. He thanked Dr. Norbert Révai-Bere, Consul General of Hungary for joining hands in organizing the Europe Day.

He briefly introduced the Council of EU Chambers as one of the foremost trade promotion organization in India established way back in 1992 to promote, foster, economical and commercial trade relations between India & EU. He said since its inception the Chamber is committed to promoting business relations and partnership between EU and India. With structural reforms getting in place by the Government and the extremely active foreign policy these would only further enlarge the scope of the Council’s activities in India.

The Council of EU Chamber of Commerce in India on its part has been serving its members to realise their members’ objective of entering European markets through dissemination of information, networking opportunities, thought leadership conferences, workshops, seminars and arranging visits of Indian companies to the EU. He further announced the gathering that The Council of EU Chamber of Commerce in India is mounting a Business Delegation this year.

He emphasized on the positive developments and series of dynamic measures taken up by European Union and India. European Union and India have recognized the importance of sustainable development and climate-related initiatives for several years. The EU-India Summit in Brussels in 2016 reinforced cooperation in various fields.

He said an EU-India Water Partnership agreed at the Summit meeting is currently being formalized. The partnership foresees cooperation in water law and governance; promotion of research, innovation and exchange of business solutions, and joint initiatives to rejuvenate the iconic Ganga river and India’s other water bodies by bringing together a wide community of stakeholders on both sides.

He also said Urbanizing India is a challenge taken up by India’s government by launching the 100 Smart Cities Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation programme which will develop public transport, sewerage, water supply and public green spaces. EU- India Partnership has innovative solutions which are supported by EU like Metropolitan Lab on Maharashtra’s Sustainable Urbanization, Clean Technologies and Energy Efficiency for Eco cities projects, Technical Assistance project for sewage treatment and many others.

The EU is also supporting the endeavor with a Clean Energy Cooperation with India initiative. The EU-India Resource Efficiency Initiative aims to support the newly created Indian Resource Panel in developing strategies for resource efficiency.

He mentioned that the two-way trade in goods between the EU and India reached €77 billion in 2016 that is €210 million per day. The EU and India hope to increase their trade in goods and services as well as investment through the negotiation of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) launched in 2007. After several rounds, the negotiations were temporarily put on hold in summer 2013.

Dr. Norbert Revai-Bere, Consul General, Consulate General of Hungary in his introductory speech thanked the organizers for giving him the opportunity to join hands in organizing the event as local EU Presidency.

It is indeed a great pleasure to be here tonight and represent the European Union at this auspicious day particularly remembering that I am coming from a country which has the population half the size of Mumbai. I think it is a great honour for us because I think the EU in Mumbai even if it only for 6 months where Hungary in the rotating Hungarian Presidency which of course much shorter than the normal routine of still 28 member of the EU presidency and it is a great honour and great responsibility which no one else is more evident than India. One day a friend of mine in Delhi when I served down said once how he sees that India with its 29 states with major languages is so similar to the EU to Europe similar number of companies, similar number of languages so. He explained me that anyway they are just peninsula of same continent   I was very surprised and shocked we never  think Europe as a peninsula or a sub-continent as india very often refered to. But despite all the differences and all these interpretations are 100% right still we do have much in common that makes India and Europe a trusted allies and also potential partners in various fields.

The development of two regions is very different due to various historical, political and cultural background. One is stronger in developing common market and economic union and other is more advance in political unity and one is better in fighting poverty climate challenges. But who knows where this course of history we take this through multi-cultural, multi ethnic and equally fascinating and unique entity in the future. But with all this in mind there something that unites EU and the member’s states of the European Union stronger than anything else stronger than any economic and commercial security and social interest and that is the sheer basic value of democracy. The basic of human rights and social justice. These are very fundamentals of European identity that we all share as member of European Union.

I must say that as many of these values are the ones that we share with India the largest and the most populous democracy in the world today creating a very firm basis and strong mutually and beneficial cooperation could be developed at every segments of life because these shared values makes us natural partners. And now what I think that every of the members states of the European Union they are all try to develop further their own bilateral relationship with India. We should not forget that if we stand as a European Union as one as European Union will remain the largest important trading partner of India as well as same time also the biggest source of investment in India and importantly academic fields and research and development fields EU still is most important source of technology and technology transfer for India.

Extract of speech of Mrs. Sujata Saunik (IAS), Principal Secretary Financial Reforms, Finance Department, Government of Maharashtra

It’s a proud privilege for me to be here as a representative of the state’s Chief Secretary Mr. Sumit Mullick and also to address you on this occasion. Today we celebrate a significant event in the history of the world a day that marks the anniversary of the idea of European Union and peace and unity in Europe through the Shoeman Declaration. I would like to begin by a quote which was said by Ms. Christin Laggard, Managing Director of the IMF where she mentioned the story of magic flute. It is a story of a handsome prince rescuing a damp at a deeper level its shows how mankind is progressing from nature to culture, from superstition to enlightment, from the darkness of chaos to dawn of a new peaceful era. In many ways this is the story of Europe. Europeans have confronted their legacy of war and ethnic hatred, they have embraced the ideal of unity in diversity and they have managed to secure peace and then foster economic and cultural prosperity.

A parallel to the European story of unity in diversity is also seen in the Indian context. The rich diversity in pluralism of India cannot be understated. In fact is one of the striking elements of this country. As diverse and multifaceted India may be the concept of one state and one country is enshrined in our constitution. India is a federation of states with a unitary biased that is the identity of India is stronger than the identity of the states. Apart from this inherit structure of governance varied factors such as Bollywood, Cricket, religious and national festivals and an appreciation for diversity have evolved to bind us together as one country. Healthcare, education, agriculture, infrastructure and digital connectivity are elements which are paramount and we are pursuing the same in which the states have come together as one. Also rapid urbanization has created a need for power, the consumption and demand points which has spread across thousands of kilometers across the country.

A power surplus states supports the need of the state with higher power consumption such cross state demand supply fulfillment in hand with the country’s economic boom. Trade and commerce and adventurous spirit for the growing younger population have revived the one country spirit

India EU relations day to the earlier 1960 with India being among the first Country to establish diplomatic relations with the European economic community. The EU as a block of 28 countries is currently India’s largest regional trading partner which also Mr. Chandramowli Srinivasan mentioned in great details. India has been EU’s 9th largest trading partner with the trade in terms of overall euro growing by leaps and bounds every year. India and EU have multiple partnerships in place.

I would just mention a few Mr. Srinivasan has given us more details. India and the humanitarian aid and protection department of European Commission are working on a system during natural calamities including cyclone, floods and earthquakes as well as all types of manmade crisis. Relations between EU and Maharashtra are also go a long way. The International Council for local environment initiatives South Asia and the European counter parts have developed a step by step guide for Solapur and Ichalkaranji in Maharashtra to develop these cities plan for water, waste water and storm water.

Also EU and Maharashtra have deliberated on working towards sustainable urbanization projects in the future. Another initiative which will enforce the concept of many states and one nation is a roll out of the Goods and Services Tax, popularly known as GST. This is one of the most significant reforms introduced in the history of Indian fiscal evolution and likely to come into effect in July 2017. GST is expected to have a far reaching impact much beyond taxes on business, economy and society. GST entails a mark shift from origin based taxation to a destination based tax structure affecting the various facet of business community such as profitability, cash flow, sourcing, pricing, supply chain and enterprise resource planning system.

The proposed GST in India is expected to bring uniform tax rates and provisions to simplify the compliance requirements across the country supported by an automated system and process. I would like to quote our honorable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi who has said that the GST reflects the spirit of one nation, one aspiration, and one determination.

Lastly, let me take this opportunity to reiterate that we look forward to a continuous fruitful cooperation between the EU and in the interest of a healthy global economy by promoting peace, stability and a sustainable development based on a closer understanding of people on both sides. It is indeed a joyous occasion where we are celebrating Europe Day. Let this evening be something that brings happiness to all of us who have gathered here today and I once again thank you all for inviting me and giving me this opportunity to share some of the thoughts with all of you.

H.E Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador, Delegation of the European Union to India thanked EU Chamber for organizing this event. He said this is a very special occasion which has been celebrated in Europe.

He expressed his sincere thanks to The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in Mumbai for organizing this important event annually. He also thanked Consulate General of Hungary for co-hosting this event.

He began his speech by saying Ladies and Gentlemen today we celebrate the ideas of peace, unity and sheer democracy that binds Europe together. 67 years ago in 1950 that time foreign minister of France laid down a vision which later on has been developed and transformed into an union where are now today. Could you imagine to what extent our politicians or the founding fathers of Europe were brave enough few years after disaster second world war they have the vision to unite Europe to avoid the repetition of bitter history. The next generation has developed this vision and they have implemented a European integration process. This year is a another very important anniversary. The 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, 6 countries of Europe that time decided to establish an economic community which opened away for establishing common market and free movement of people, goods, services and capitals. The next stages of our integration they reached next stage of integration including some elements of political integration. And when our heads of states at government govern in Rome in March to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Rome treaties, they once again reiterated that the rationale for the union is stronger than ever. They said that taken individually we would be sidelined by the global dynamics standing together is our best chance to influence than and to defend our common interest and values. Of course we should not hide we need to recognize that our challenges we have experiencing our difficulties but please tell me when through the European integration process we have not faced challenges and difficulties.

The European integration process doesn’t have a matrix and a sample to be followed. We are moving according to certain visions, certain ideas and I would like to underline that European Union is not a purely economic institution where decisions are taken on the basis of financial sheets. The European Union first of all is a process is an integration process based on certain values and principles and the political will which is what the most important elements which unites us.

Dear friends, European Union is part of the global world. That’s why from the beginning we have developed our relations and engagements with the rest of the world. This is one of our objectives. We have certain ideas, we have certain interest but we are not in a position to implement them. We need cooperation, we need partnerships with third countries. Vice President of the European Commission madam Federica Mogherini in her message Europe Day this year said that the EU is the values we believe in the partnership we build in the world.

India as it was mentioned, India has been a valuable part for the European Union for decades and our partnership is really based on common values and principles, democracy, market economy, human rights evolution to multilaterism and ruled based international and this is something which helps us to develop our partnership. At the same time our challenge and our task is how to transform those common values and principles into clearly identified interests. Because our cooperation needs to serve interest of our people. The people of India and the people of Europe. India is going through extremely important stage of its economic and social development and my assessment is that India is not going through a simple reform process. India is going through a fundamental process of modernization. And the ambition of Indian government and the Indian nation is to modernize the country politically, socially and economically. And its a process which will help India to embark on sustainable and long term economic growth.

India is changing very fast, faster than any other big economy. I have had a lot of meetings here in Mumbai with European businesses and Indian business and everybody has recognized the business environment is getting better and better that the investment opportunities are becoming more conducive and of course situation never can be so good that the improvement is impossible. That’s why I am really happy that the European businesses incorporation with Indian businesses in New Delhi, Kolkata and other places but first of all in Mumbai as well as working to make a input to our discussion with the Indian government. I can tell you that while meeting the Union Ministers, Vice President of the countries they asked me pleased me tell us what we can improve, what we can do better to attract more investments from abroad. That why I am really happy that the EBG produces annually a position paper of important sectors where European businesses are engaged. And there all the Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India here is also very important. That is why my appeal is in the positive sense we would be very happy to get more input from European businesses in what way the business environment can be improved which will serve the Indian and the European. That’s why for us India is a long term partner. Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi said here in this early January in one of his public speeches that with Europe we have a very strong vision of partnership in Indian modernization.

And I agree through agreements which we did during the last year summit and following high level visits we are developing a real vision, a real plan how the European and Indian businesses and other sectors of our administration and socialite can contribute to the modernization of India. And I am not telling this because we are trying to help India. We are helping India as India is helping us as well because such partnership is mutually beneficial for both sides. We understand that India’s modernization process requires some business solutions as it was mentioned technology financial solutions but at the same time we are interested in many sectors of Indian economy, which can contribute to the development of Europe finding solutions businesses, business solutions, especially the service sectors in Europe is a mutually beneficial process.

And I am really happy that European businesses are very much engaged in the implementation of India’s flagship projects Make in India, Digital India, clean Ganga and so on. That why we are present here, European businesses are present here in such sectors like renewable energy, digital agenda, climate change, environment, water management resource efficiency, urbanization in the sector. It is a sector where we have established a very good practical cooperation with the Government of Maharashtra. And in this context of course I would like to underline trade and investment are the key element of our bilateral relationship and now I have new figures concerning our trade and we calculate recently. I must say that a trade in Goods and Services together between the European Union and India in 2016 exceeded the level of 104 billion Euros, if you would be calculated into and this is a good achievement.

If you would calculate it this trades and services, goods together in American Dollar it will be higher and what I would like to underline that the trade between India and European Union is overall balance and last year it was in favor of India, which is very important because some other big trade and partner of India are not so the balance very much, not in favor of India. That’s why our economy to a high extent very complimentary. We enjoy your exports to Europe and to enjoy our exports to India and our trade is balance which is very important. Concerning the trade agreement, we entered into an agreement in negotiating free trade agreement long ago.

 After sometime it put on hold and since March last year we have been in active exchanges with the Indian Government how to move this agenda forward. I hope that we will be able to find an agreement and we will re-launch such negotiations. This is for our political leaders to make such decisions. I would like to underline that the European Union is fully committed to conclude a deep and comprehensive mutually beneficial free trade and investment agreement with the Government of India. Let us hope that it will materialize soon. And when I met you a year ago, practically the only one practical concerning the visits between Indian and European Union. I mentioned that time there was a summit meeting in March 2016. Since then the exchanges at the highest level between both sides have been really intensified since then we have here two commissioners from the European Union Vice President of the European commission, 3 Director Generals i.e. Secretary in your bureaucratic system. We have here the President, the Vice President of the European investment bank opened its office in New Delhi what was promised during the last summit and this is part of my office European Union delegation and as of now according to the EIB figure’s The European Investment Bank has opened credit lines and signed agreements and loans to different stake holders in India who have value exceeding 1.7 billion Euros since 2010 and all this loans and majority of these loans are directed to infrastructure projects and climate and energy related projects.

Last March the EIB signed two agreements with a value of 440 million Euros, that is why we are delivering on our commitment and I am really happy that two weeks ago a high representative for EU Foreign Affair & Security Policy she is a Foreign Minister for the European Union Madam Federica Mogherini paid a visit to India and she met Foreign Minister Ms. Sushama Swaraj and other ministers, but the most important thing that she met Prime Minister Modi and the meeting was very fruitful and both sides and both interlocutors discussed our cooperation not only in the field of economy, trade investment but as well as in the foreign security policy. Because now when we have world with full of uncertainty we are convinced the European Union and India may cooperate very much as well as to deal with global and regional challenges.

Dear Friends, I am very optimistic about the future of EU and India relations and as without going into the details lot of examples of our practical cooperation and growing interaction have been mentioned not only in the my interaction but as well as by other speakers here. We are proud to report to you that as representatives of government of European Union institution and European and the representatives of Indian institutions and business organization. We since last year we have been able to move our agenda forward and are able to report to you that our relationship, our partnership has been further developed and I am convinced that the next visit will further improve our relations and will put more practical solutions to our partnerships. I hope that later this year will be able to have another EU India summit which will give a new impetus to our relationship.

That’s why dear friends, with its rich traditions and enormous entrepreneurial energy and idealism India strikes a deep chord in our hearts. This is not only about business, this is about cultural links, this is about educational links, and this is about fascination in Europe about India. We have a lot of parallels in our history in our tradition in our culture that’s why putting together our both sides efforts plus people to people contacts plus a lot of similarities we have in our history and current days and I am absolutely convinced that European and European Union in India are and will remain partners for the future for the 25 centuries.

Dr. Renu Shome, Director, The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India while proposing vote of thanks thanked H. E Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador, Delegation of European Union to India, Mrs. Sujata Saunik, IAS, Principal Secretary Financial Reforms, Finance Department,  Government of Maharashtra, Dr. Norbert Révai-Bere, Consul General, Consulate General of the Hungary, Members of Chambers and distinguished guests for attending the event in large number.

She specially thanked EU Ambassador whose continuous support has helped to organize this event every year. She thanked Consul General Dr. Norbert Révai-Bere for joining hands in organizing Europe Day 2017.

She said we are happy to inform you that EU India Chambers has undertaken many activities in the past few years with a purpose to getting the industry together and sharing its common view in promoting trade and commerce between India and European Union.

Also she assured that the Council will always strive to promote the trade relations between both the regions and undertake many such activities which shall help our members to know about the latest happenings with regards to EU India Trade.

She profusely thanked all sponsors: Gold Sponsor– BNP Paribas Silver Sponsors – Allcargo Logistics Ltd.  SKF, ECGC, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Chemicals Ltd., Seahorse Ship Agencies Pvt. Ltd., Synthite Industries Ltd., Solvay Specialties India Pvt. Ltd., InterGest South Asia Private Limited,  IDFC Bank Ltd.  Hampers Partners– Nivea India Pvt. Ltd., Brugge La Chocolaterie, Nordic Kandie Magic Pvt. Ltd., Sansui Beverage Partners: UB, Aspri, Good Drop Wine Cellars Pvt. Ltd., Red Bull India Pvt. Ltd. Kit Sponsor: EPCH and National Geographic Magazine for their great support in making the event successful

She also appreciated and thanked Sumeet Nagdev Dance Arts Academy and each artist for putting up brilliant cultural show for the audience.