PM Modi meets top EU leaders ahead of G20 meet

New Delhi/Rome: A day ahead of the G20 Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday kick-started his official engagements in Rome with “a productive interaction” with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Modi reached Rome on Friday morning where he will join other G20 leaders in discussions on global economic and health recovery from the pandemic, sustainable development, and climate change in the first in-person summit of the G20 since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.

His first official engagement was with the top leaders of the European Commission. Soon after the meeting was over, he tweeted: “We had wide ranging talks on deepening the India-EU friendship, particularly in areas such as trade, commerce, culture and environment.”

Stating that India has a key role to play in the green transition, Michel said: “We discussed global health and fighting the pandemic, the strong EU-India Strategic Partnership, the situation in Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific.”

Leyen tweeted: “Our EU-India strategic agenda is on the right track. We agreed that our trade negotiators will start to work. We’ll deepen our cooperation on climate, including on innovation and technology.”

Looking forward to cooperating in the Indo-Pacific EU Global Gateway, she said.

The PMO handle said: “The leaders discussed ways to enhance economic as well as people-to-people linkages aimed at creating a better planet.”

Modi paid floral tributes at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi and also met members of the Indian community that extended a warm welcome to him with sloganeering and placard displays.

Earlier in the morning here, the Prime Minister was received by senior Italian officials and the Indian Ambassador in Italy, a release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in New Delhi.

Modi is on a visit to Rome and the Vatican City from Friday till October 31 at the invitation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

On the sidelines of the G20 Summit, Modi will also be meeting with leaders of other partner countries and review the progress in bilateral relations.

The G20 began a consultation forum between Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the world’s major economies. Following the 2008 economic crisis, it became a forum between heads of state and government, aimed at improving coordination on the main global issues.

During his visit to Italy, Modi will also visit the Vatican City, to call on Pope Francis and meet Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

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