Representatives of Japan and the EU have attended the 26th EU-Japan Summit, strengthening social and economic ties between the two.
The summit, held in Brussels, was attended by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe among other political representatives; and focused on implementing and further developing the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership. The partnership, announced in 2018, comprises two significant agreements: the Economic Partnership Agreement, a wide-ranging trade pact; and the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement, which promotes cooperation between European and Japanese bodies across more than 40 sectors.
Juncker said: “This is a truly historic time for Japan, with its current presidency of the G20 and the accession of Crown Prince Naruhito as Emperor next week. Japan can rely on the European Union on both counts: to strengthen multilateralism, and to support its new era of Reiwa, which means ‘beautiful harmony’ and perfectly sums up our partnership. Our new Economic Partnership Agreement is a landmark moment for global trade. The vast majority of the €1 billion of duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan and vice-versa have been removed. This will help trade between us increase by up to nearly €36 billion. We now need to ensure that this success story continues by making sure we stay on track with the implementation.”
The summit offered an opportunity for delegates to reinforce joint approaches in advance of this year’s G20 summit, which will take place in June in Osaka. The EU leaders declared their full support for Japan’s priorities as current holder of the G20 presidency, including projected reform of the World Trade Organisation and accelerated implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement. The EU and Japan reiterated their commitment to work together to address international challenges, including promoting sustainable connectivity and data protection; supporting peace efforts in Ukraine and the Korean peninsula; and working together to combat climate change.