The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India (EU Chambers) has organized EU Day 2018 on 18th May 2018 at the Crystal Room, The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

The event was supported by the Delegation of European Union to India and the Consulate General of the Belgium, Mumbai.

Europe Day mark the foundation of European Union and 2018 is also the European year for Cultural Heritage where Europe celebrates its diverse cultural heritage.

Considering the appropriateness of these two important events, EU Chambers along with Delegation of European Union felicitated Padma Vibhushan Shri Amitabh Bachchan for his exceptional contribution in the world of cinema and social causes.

The EU Day 2018 event was graced by galaxy of dignitaries including Mr Amitabh Bachchan, EU Ambassador, Consul Generals of European & Non-European nations and senior representatives of European and Indian companies.

Mr Ameet Nivsarkar, President of the EU Chambers welcomed Mr Amitabh Bachchan, H.E Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador, Delegation to European Union to India, and all present at the occasion. He thanked Mr Peter Huyghebaert , Consul General of Belgium for joining hands in organizing the Europe Day.

 “Ladies and Gentlemen, It is indeed a great pleasure to have you all with us today to celebrate the Europe Day, a  day that commemorates the European Union, for peaceful and economic union that encompasses 28 countries. We have a wonderful evening planned for you and here’s a very warm welcome to you all.

I’m thankful to the EU Ambassador, Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, who has come over from New Delhi, Mr. Marco Buti, DG – Economic &  Financial Affairs of the European Commission, who has come all the way from Brussels. I’d also like to acknowledge Mr. Szilveszter Bus, Dy. State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade of  Hungary who has come here from Budapest and Mr. Peter Huyghebaert, Consul General of Belgium. As we know that the Bulgaria holds the EU Presidency, but in Mumbai it is the Belgium consulate that holds the presidency.

And last but not the least, ladies and gentlemen, you’ll be happy to know that 2018 is the European Year for the cultural heritage and it is indeed a moment of great pride and pleasure to have someone who needs no introduction, Joh rishte mein hum sab ke baap lagte hain, Shri Amitabh Bachchan.

On behalf of the Chambers and on behalf of all present here, I’d like to express our utmost gratitude to you for sparing your invaluable time. Let me also take this opportunity to briefly highlight the various activities of the Chambers for the benefit of all present here today.

The Council of EU Chambers is one of the foremost trade bodies in India established in 1992. We actually precede the euro as the currency. Our objective is to promote commercial and economic relations between Indian and European businesses. Since its inception, the Chambers has worked tirelessly to help members with information, research, thought leadership papers, policy support, conferences, seminars and arranging bilateral visits for Indian and European companies. We have close to thousand members who we actually support every day. EU as an economic block represents 28-member countries in Europe. And, EU Chambers represents business interest of these 28 EU member countries

The EU is India’s largest trading partner with 12.5% of India’s trade. For Europe, India is the 9th largest trading partner with about 2.2% of the EU trade coming with India. Bilateral trade in 2017 stood at 115 billion euros. As we all know India is the world’s fastest growing large economy, Europe enjoys significant advantages in a very established consumer base as well as very transparent financial and investment institutions. So 115 billion euros is actually a very insignificant amount because if you look at in perspective EU’s trade with China is five times. So we have a very large opportunity ahead of us and in our own small way the Chambers will play a crucial role in encouraging business between the two economies.

Once again, thank you very much for coming and have a wonderful evening.

Mr. Peter Huyghebaert, Consul General, Consulate of Belgium in Mumbai

Distinguished guests, it is indeed an honour for me to co-host todays Europe Day celebration. As Ameet already said, since the European delegation is not represented in Mumbai we still have here, what we call as a rotating local EU Presidency and in the first half of this year, Belgium is taking up that role, that’s also your luck, because it means that I am able to have a little bit of Belgium touch or should I say, flavour to this evening with free flowing Belgium beer such as Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, kirkland Belgian chocolate fountain and two business tickets to Brussels, the capital of Europe, direct connection from Mumbai and later on this evening, a stunning performance by a Belgium dance group who is blending Indian dance element with more western and Belgium contemporary dance. Well, enough said about Belgium, this is Europe Day and I am happy to introduce the Ambassador of the European Union to India, Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, whom I salute. Since I have arrived here three years ago, I have seen the number of mutual visits between Indian and European dignitaries increased and I think the Ambassador is very instrumental in that regard.

Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador, Delegation of the European Union

Shri Amitabh Bachchan, Mr. Marco Buti, Mr. Szilveszter Bus, Mr Ameet Nivsarkar, my predecessor on the stage, Consul General of Belgium, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, it is my real pleasure to be with you tonight here. Thank you very much for coming. Thank you very much for joining us on this very special occasion.

We are celebrating the Europe Day. We celebrate the Europe Day to commemorate the vision expressed by then French Foreign Minister, Robert Schumann who in 1950 designed a vision for United Europe after a bitter history of Europe. Since then we have passed so many years, we have had so many difficulties and problems but we’re moving forward, building our better Europe and contributing to the better world. When I was here on the same place a year ago, I expressed my deep conviction that EU – India relations would move further and they would be deepened. Today with high and great satisfaction, I would like to report to you that I was really right a year ago. Since then we have deepened and broaden EU – India relations during the last year’s summit in New Delhi. The Prime Minister Modi and the Presidents of the European Union, Mr. Donald  Tusk and Mr.  Jean-Claude  Juncker, they designed a forward- looking long term vision for EU – India relations for the medium and long term for the next 15-20 years. Our leaders declared the European Union and India as natural partners. They recognized a growing convergence from views and global international and original issues and they declared their desire to work together to pursue our common objectives and common responsibilities to build peace and stability in the world. Our partnership, and I would like to underline this one more time, our partnership is based on shared values and principles on democracy, market economy, human rights, devotions to the international rules and norms and please take into account that I would not be able to say the same if I would be in many other countries. We are really natural partners, but what is needed to implement this partnership in practical terms in addition on the basis of common values and principles, we need to clearly identify our common interests, because we have our interests and we have a lot of common interest. Our partnership is based on a number of pillars, we decided or we are developing our political and security corporations because we have a lot of security concerns including in the field of country terrorists. We are the important partners each to another in the field of trade and investment as it was mentioned by Mr President. We are now contributing to developing sustainable economic and social system, through developing renewable new energy, water management and so on and of course and important element of our partnership, our people to people contacts. We as the governments are not able to move such partnership forward if we would not build it on people to people contacts in many fields, in culture, education, science, technology, business. More people coming to Europe we are happier, more Europeans come to India we are happy. This is our real basis for our cooperation. We have a lot to offer each other and its extremely important under current circumstances when the world is becoming more uncertain, when the certain elements of international order are unpredictable, we see each other as stable, predictable partners in all fields I just have mentioned. Our special welcome to representatives of business community. We as representatives of governments, we are able or we’re trying our best or doing our best to establish the best and conducive conditions for developing business trade economic ties. But we are not able to implement them that’s why the role of business community which is represented here is extremely important. You are giving the content to our partnership that’s why please rely on us, please rely on me, please rely on European Institutions, EU Member State governments and the Indian governments.

We do our best to felicitate business contact between India and the European Union. That’s why in this context I once again would like to welcome you for being with us here. This is our joint celebrations and of course I should say a few words about our cultural links which are very much related to people to people contacts but please allow me to do it on the next occasion I will on the stage together with our guest of honour.

We are very perspective partners but what Europe today looks like or how it is after some crises, I suggest let Mr Buti, Director General responsible for overall coordination to respond.

Once again welcome to all and let’s celebrate the Europe Day 2018 together. Please enjoy and thank you.

Mr. Marco BUTI, Director General- Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN), European Commission

Thank you very much Ambassador, Ladies & Gentlemen. It is indeed a great pleasure to be here at Europe Day, but we are here after two days of intense work. The Ambassador sketched out the big political picture with strategic perspective that we have but the task of people like me to put flush on the bones and that’s what we actually have done in the last 2 days. Today here in Mumbai meeting with Central Bank Governor and with the business community here as well as yesterday in New Delhi meeting with the Government authorities and the business community over there.

It is worked with the macroeconomic dialogue that’s where once in a year and once in eighteen month once here in India and other time in Brussels we meet and exchange the experience. It is a moment in which we learn about each other about so we learn from each other and I think the Ambassador was fully right. We are natural partners, we are economic natural partners, we work together very closely in international Forum. Ambassador was right in stressing that the in today’s global world which is shaken by unpredictability and risk to end up into fragmentation. I think those partners who keep bring forward the flag of multilaterism, openness, rule a law are clearly are those who have to take the stage and show the world the direction.

That’s what we are trying to do in European Union. India we are going to do it together. So we have indeed a lot to learn from each other and a lot we can do in a very granular way starting with a very concrete projects as well as more general in terms of macroeconomic and financial coordination. So these we have to do but it is there contribution also to the global world. We are in a situation of prospected instability the traditional encore global governance is somewhat according to question. So I think there is a void need to be filled and we can do it together and we can do it together also because we can build an economic performance which is in the case of India is impressive based on economic reforms which are deep wide ranging and in the case of Europe after a period of crisis with a return of growth we are growing now above potential for a number of years we are at the highest level of employment for over a two decades so this is the basis on which  to build.

We have common challenges we are very different obviously but we have common challenges one challenge is to translate this sick recovery expansion into longer term growth for the benefit of all the citizens of Europe and India and I think we can learn from each other the way in which the reforms are carried out in India. I think something we you can be proud of and we can and we have a lot to learn from. I think a number of reforms we have made in Europe for instance putting public finances under control. Fiscal relations we met with fifteen commissions yesterday in Delhi is something that can inspire your work. So here I think rest my case, I think we have a lot to do together. I think we have opportunities and we have to translate these uncertainties now into opportunities for common joint leadership.

Thank you very much!

Dr. Renu Shome, Director, The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India

Ladies  & Gentleman,

Good Evening & Greetings from European Union Chambers of Commerce

It is our proud privilege to have amongst with us Padma Vibhushan Shri Amitabh Bachchanji. Indeed an honour for me to introduce him.

He is the Shahenshah of Bollywood, Star of the Millennium popularly called Big B needs no introduction.

Acted in 190 films and multiple winners of national film fare awards, screen and stardust awards he nominates the scene and he is a one man industry.

An international figure and the legend, his honours and recognitions are unlimited.

Iss Shahenshah ne kala ke woh Sholay bhadkaye ki Hum Don ke liye dua maangte hain, yeh Silsila  yun hi barkaraar rahe aur yeh saare Deewar aur Zanjeeer todkar 102 Not Out bane rahen!

Ladies and Gentleman, it my proud privilege to present to you Padma Vibhushan Shri. Amitabh Bachchan Ji.

May I request for a Standing Ovation and Applause

Ambassador Tomasz Kozlowski

Ladies & gentlemen it is my rare privilege and honour to express my personal and official appreciation to Shri Amitabh Bachchan for his contribution and exceptional role he plays in India and international arena. Before I make it more formal allow me to express my personal respect to you. I spent more than twenty years in different Asian Countries and spent two and a half year in India and off course as Dr Shome said Shri Bachchan does not need any introduction.

The strength of Indian culture and Indian Cinema is known and recognized all over the world and we in European Union and citizen of European Union respect other cultures, countries and respect other people and that’s why we are open to know more about other Countries, other people and their culture and that’s why when I watched your first movie many many years ago in my home Country Poland and not in India.

I just learnt from our guest of honour that he visited my own country Poland few years back but interestingly the occasion was very special. Mr Bachchan was hosted by the oldest University Jagiellonian University in Krakow for the felicitation of his father Shri Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a well-known poet in India and he is now in Poland and is translated into Polish. This means the cultural roots and I am telling about Poland and I am absolutely sure same stories can be told related to other countries. We as an EU are very proud of our own cultural diversity and we are very diversified as we have so many languages, Countries and ethnic group like in India and at the same time are very much interested in promoting our culture in India and we do it through EU international film festival every year. I am aware Indian films are played/screen in many European Countries including my own country. It unites us and we know each other better and that’s why my personal respect to you Mr Bachchan.

Now allow me to read official Citation on the occasions of Europe Day and Cultural heritage year 2018. It reads as:

  • Amitabh Bachchan has been a great exponent in the art of acting and a master of his craft. He has been an inspiration to the film industry and through it to millions of people in his country and across the globe. As a consummate professional who combines art with ethics he is a role model for all generations.
  •  Cinematic Art has been a great bridge-builder between the people of Europe and India. While the EU has supported annual European Union Film Festival for many years, numerous Indian films have been shot in Europe including many of Mr. Bachchan’s. These films have been like a window for the broader public to a distant continent, allowing a glimpse of the beauty and rich cultural heritage of both our entities.
  •  Bachchan has lent his support to various important social and environmental causes, including such as eradication of Hepatitis B, TB & Polio, protection of the rights of children, girls and women, as well as to environmental protection including tiger conservation project. As an organization which has always been a strong advocate for the protection of common good such as health and the preservation of our environment, the European Union would like to felicitate him for his principled stand and relentless efforts in these areas.
  •  As one whose astonishing power and versatility has inspired generations of film and television audiences, the artistic accomplishments and contributions to society of Amitabh Bachchan are unique in the world of the moving image. We honor him for his artistic achievements as well as his activism for social and environmental causes.

Padma Vibhushan Shri. Amitabh Bachchan

 “Excellencies, Dignitaries, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to thank the EU Chambers for inviting me here this evening and for decorating me with this wonderful citation which I shall cherish and remember all my life. Thank you so much.

The Indian film industry is more than 100 years old but, almost 50-60 years ago, cinema in India was looked upon as something that was professionally infertic. Children from good homes were prevented from joining it as a profession but as we have progressed over the years, Indian cinema has become an integral part of our society, of our social system and not just in India but the world all over.

I’m a very small member of this large fraternity which as you all know is the largest film industry in the world today and when you honour me with this citation, I take it as honouring the Indian film fraternity and I take this in respect of that. Thank you so much Sir.

To me, cinema has always been a medium that has united, integrated people and communities. When we sit inside a darkened hall to see a film, we never ask the caste, the creed, the colour, the religion of the person sitting next to us. Yet we watch the same film, we laugh at the same jokes, we cry at the same emotion, we sing the same songs. There are very few institutions left in this fast disintegrating world that can claim this kind of integration. I’m sincerely proud to be a member of that fraternity that brings communities together and today on the occasion of celebrating EU Day 2018, I cannot hope and pray that all of us come together in unison, integrate for the betterment of society and for the betterment of the world.

My father, the great poet and literature Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan, during his last days would often sit in the hall of my home and watch a film of mine every evening. On one of these days, I asked him what is it that you find, you know, every evening you’re watching a film of mine, it must be boring. He said, “The reason I watch this film is because I get to see poetic justice in 3 hours”.

You and I, ladies and gentlemen, with all due respect will not get to see poetic justice in a lifetime, perhaps, several lifetimes.

This community of European Union and India has great ideals, great thoughts and philosophies of working together. May the bonds friendship, bond of coming together for the furtherance of the betterment of our two nations and communities be further fructified today. May we all live in peace and happiness and may we all achieve poetic justice at the end of 3 hours.

Thank you very much.

Mr. Nicolas Simon, Vice- President, EU Chambers proposed the Vote of Thanks

Good Evening Ladies and Gentleman!

Shri. Amitabh Bachchan, H. E. Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of The European Union to India, Mr. Szilveszter Bus , Mr. Szilveszter Bus, Dy. State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade of  Hungary, Mr. Marco BUTI,  Director-General DG Economic and Financial Affairs, European Commission, Mr. Peter Huyghebaert, Consul General, Consulate General of Belgium and Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my privilege to be part of this august gathering of leaders at Europe Day Celebration 2018. On behalf of  EU Chambers, I would like to whole heartedly express my deepest appreciation and profound gratitude towards Shri. Amitabh Bachchan for gracing the occasion as the Chief Guest and sharing with us his thoughts. We are deeply honored to have you here Sir.

I would also like to thank EU Ambassador Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski and Mr. Peter Huyghebaert whose continuous support made this event successful.

I am happy to inform you that the EU Chambers has undertaken many programmes in the past year for its members, with the purpose of getting the industry together and sharing its common view with regards to promoting trade and commerce between India and European Union.

Friends, we assure you that the Chamber 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.

We, at the Chambers are very happy to organize for you, this Europe Day, which marks the foundation of the Europe. I am sure that you will enjoy the Evening, and we always look forward to your views as to how we can serve you better.

I sincerely thank our today’s sponsors for making this event successful:

Gold Sponsors– BNP Paribas India, Tata Consultancy Services, Silver Sponsors – Allcargo Logistics Ltd.  EXIM Bank, ECGC, Seahorse Ship Agencies Pvt. Ltd., Tata Chemicals Ltd., Citi Bank, Srei Equipment Finance Ltd., BCube Consulting, InterGest South Asia Private Limited

Gift Partners- Nivea India Pvt. Ltd., Parle Products Pvt. Ltd., Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts, Delta Nutritives Pvt. Ltd. Prize Partners: Brussels Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines, Rail Europe, Manas Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. Beverage Partners: Aspri Spirits Pvt. Ltd., York Winery Pvt. Ltd., AB InBev

Lastly I would be failing in my duties, if I do not acknowledge the hard work by our EU Chambers team led by dynamic Director Dr Renu Shome for putting up this wonderful event for you.

Ladies and Gentleman, once again I would like to thank all of you for gracing the occasion and hope you will enjoy the Evening as much as we have enjoyed putting it up for you.

After the vote of thanks a Belgium group “The Bollylicious” team performed a stunning performance which was the blend of Indian dance element with more western and Belgium contemporary dance. The performance was appreciated by all present.