this evening I should have been in New Delhi to discuss with you the future of the European Union, of global governance and social justice. Unfortunately Italian politics is currently at a very important crossroad and despite the fact that my journey to India has been planned several months ago and that this conference has been conceived long ago, it was impossible for me to leave Italy because my presence is required at the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
I apologize for my absence but I am convinced that the three friends and colleagues that will replace me here today, Jesus Caldera, Zita Gurmai and Ernst Stetter, will engage you in a brilliant debate on the challenges that the relationship between the EU and India will face in a increasingly globalized world.
Despite our shared values and common interests, relations between Europe and India have not been developed to their full potentials. If economic and trade relations are proceeding slowly but constantly, on a wide range of international and strategic issues lot remains to be done.
This delay in establishing a deep and fruitful partnership is, I think, on one hand the result of mutual misperceptions about India’s real status and role on a global scale and on the other hand a consequence of European Union’s persistent incapability to formulate a real common foreign policy. Despite the many attempts and the adoption, about two years ago, of the Lisbon Treaty, the European Union must still learn to speak with one voice. Indeed the strong bilateral relations between India and some EU member states have the effect of weakening EU’s attempt to make up for this delay.
But even if the EU were to overcome these inconsistencies, questions remain over how much India would be prepared to engage with Europe, considering that India too has a long held preference for bilateral relations.
Hence, many deep-rooted habits have to be defeated in order to improve our mutual understanding. I strongly believe that moments such as today’s meeting can offer a significant opportunity to strengthen our promising friendship. This is also one of the goals that the Foundation for European Progressive Studies, which I have the honour to chair, is pursuing: bringing together progressives in Europe, in India and elsewhere in order to change global governance in such a way that it can be of benefit for everybody.
Thank you very much for your attention