5th India – Europe 29 Business Forum held in New Delhi

The 5th edition of India-Europe 29 Business Forum was recently held at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi from 20 to 21 November 2019. It was organized by industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Union Ministry of External Affairs. It saw participation of some 400 delegates from 29 European countries. The focus sectors for this edition of forum were Smart Cities, IT & ITES, Renewable Energy, Pharma and Artificial Intelligence (AI). India-Europe 29 Business Forum is India’s largest European Platform.

Background

Europe 29 region: It stretches from Switzerland in west to Turkey in the east and Norway in the north to Cyprus in the south. It comprises following countries:  Austria, Albania, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Moldova, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Malta, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Estonia, Romania, Finland, Serbia, Greece, Cyprus, Montenegro, Iceland, Sweden, Latvia, Czech Republic Slovak Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Switzerland and Turkey.

China’s “16+1″ mechanism

China is making inroads into this Europe 29 region with increased investments and joint ventures. In 2012, it launched so called “16+1″ (i.e. China+16 European countries) mechanism to boost cooperation between the two. The stated aim of this mechanism is to enhance and expand investment, financial, scientific, transportation, educational and cultural cooperation between China and Central and East European (CEE) countries. China has prioritized three areas of economic cooperation: high-technology, green technology and infrastructure development under this mechanism. Most of the 16+1 countries are European Union (EU) members, but the grouping also includes five non-EU states. According to some critics, there are major misgivings in Europe over 16+1 format as in it seen in EU as an attempt by China to divide union by offering investments to less-developed members of EU in exchange for political influence.

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