India at the heart of the French presidency of the European Union, according to the French envoy

French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain called for “greater academic mobility” between India and the European Union, saying it would be the “best investment” in the future of the partnership.

French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain called for “greater academic mobility” between India and the European Union, saying it would be the “best investment” in the future of the partnership.

India is a major focus of France’s presidency of the European Union and deepening political relations between the 27-nation bloc and New Delhi should go hand in hand with closer people-to-people ties, the ambassador said of France Emmanuel Lenain.

The envoy also called for “greater academic mobility” between India and the European Union, saying it would be the “best investment” in the future of the partnership.

Mr Lenain was speaking at an event on Friday evening to mark the 35th anniversary of the European Union (EU) Erasmus-plus program which was established in 1987 to support the education of students around the world as well as to encourage partnerships between universities.

The French envoy said more than 6,000 Indian students had traveled to Europe so far under the Erasmus programme, adding that this showed how much the EU values ​​student mobility with India. “For two years, France has been the country that has hosted the largest number of Erasmus scholarship holders and we are very proud of that,” said Mr Lenain.

“India is a major focus of the current French Presidency of the Council of the EU. France is firmly convinced that the deepening of political relations between the EU and India must go hand in hand with greater mobility academic and interpersonal ties”. he said.

The French envoy added: “This is the best investment we can make in the future of the EU-India partnership.” In January, France took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) from Slovenia. This year, the EU and India are celebrating 60 years of strategic partnership.

Stressing that the mobility of students and researchers is an important dimension of this relationship, EU Ambassador to India and Bhutan, Ugo Astuto, said that more and more Indian students are considering the possibility of studying in Europe.

“I am happy to share that 143 Indian students have been awarded Erasmus Mundus scholarships for higher education in Europe. This builds on the success of the last two years when Indian students were the main recipients of Erasmus-plus European scholarships among 167 countries,” he said.

“More and more Indian students are considering the possibility of studying in the EU, exploring its world-class academic institutes, taking courses in two or more European countries, learning about various cultures,” said he added.

The event brought together more than 250 Indian Erasmus+ beneficiaries, including students, researchers, academics and business people. Representatives of EU Member States, Indian partner institutions and several experts took part in the festivities.

Erasmus, i.e. the European region’s action program for university student mobility, supports education, training, youth and sport, according to a joint press release from the French and EU embassy in India.

“With a budget of €26.2 billion (₹20.96.94 crore) for the period 2021-2027, it is the world’s largest program for student mobility and also an important project of collaborative funding,” he said.

“With this programme, the EU wants to strengthen the mobility and cooperation of academics and young people between the members of the European Union, but also with other regions of the world, in particular Asia,” the statement said.

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