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2009 crucial for India to fight global challenges: EU

world Updated: Jun 26, 2009 19:33 IST

The year 2009 "is a crucial year" for India and the European Union (EU) to find ways to address common challenges posed by climate change, energy and terrorism, a top official of the 27-member grouping said in Brussels on Friday.

India and the EU are "two natural partners" and they need to find ways to fight all those challenges jointly, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU commissioner for external relations, said ahead of India-EU ministerial Troika meeting to be held in the Czech capital city of Prague Monday.

"This EU-India foreign ministers Troika is timely as the EU and India must join efforts to confront global issues and regional challenges," she said in a press statement, EuAsiaNews reported.

"I am pleased," she continued, "that we have already been able to establish very good cooperation with India covering many issues, notably our very valuable cooperation in the area of Research and Development linked in particular to the field of renewable energy such as solar energy for example."

"Furthermore, we work together closely on education and the success of the Erasmus Mundus Programme with India, for instance, is very encouraging and offers many valuable opportunities to both Indian and European youth," added Ferrero-Waldner.

The one-day meeting is expected to put emphasis on a range of global issues, particularly on common strategies and responses to the economic and financial crisis, according to a statement by the EU.

Furthermore the high level meeting will discuss cooperation in the field of energy and climate change and how both partners can reinforce their ambition to achieve concrete progress at the December Copenhagen conference, the statement said.

While India's delegation at the meeting will be led by Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, the EU side will be represented by Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout, EU Commissioner for external relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, the EuAsiaNews reported.

The meeting will also be attended by Swedish Foreign Secretary Frank Belfrage.

The EU-India foreign ministers' meet will set the scene for the annual EU-India Summit, which will focus mainly on climate change, trade relations, energy and security. The summit is proposed to be held in New Delhi later this year.

The Czech Republic currently holds the six-month rotating EU presidency. Sweden will take over the presidency from July 1.