BRUSSELS, Belgium – EU president Charles Michel after the EU-Japan summit via video conference announced that it was a pleasure to speak with prime minister Yoshihide Suga, on Thursday. He said Japan is a like-minded partner and a key ally for the EU: “Values of multilateralism, democracy and the rule of law unite us. And this year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of our strategic partnership,” gave the assurance to meet at the G7 summit in the UK.
Remarks by president Michel after the EU – Japan summit via video conference:
“Today [May 27] we had the opportunity to focus on three key areas: First, the global issues like COVID-19 and climate change; Second, our bilateral relationship with Japan; and Third, foreign and security policy.
Our first common priority is to defeat COVID-19 and to ensure a sustainable and inclusive recovery: The European Union is playing a major role. We are the largest exporter of vaccines and with Japan, we are firmly committed to COVAX. Prime Minister Suga will host the COVAX pledging summit next week, and we hope these efforts will help secure sufficient resources to vaccinate 30 percent of the world’s population by the end of this year. And the EU plans to share at least 100 million doses of vaccines this year. It is key to keep supply chains open.
We must also be ready for future pandemics. I have proposed with Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an international treaty on pandemics in the framework of the World Health Organisation (WHO). I want to thank prime minister Suga for his support.
We also discussed the great challenges of climate change and the loss of biodiversity. And [today] we reached a new important milestone: the EU-Japan Green Alliance. It is our commitment to being a leader in climate neutrality by 2050 and this ambitious alliance will boost cooperation in many areas: energy transition, business, regulatory cooperation, innovation, environmental protection or sustainable finance.
We also discussed the digital transformation of our societies. The EU wants to make the next ten years our digital decade. We will work with Japan on emerging technologies, critical materials, 5G, 6G, artificial intelligence, data and platforms. And this will boost the competitiveness of both the EU and Japan and set standards in multilateral fora.
We also discussed our bilateral relations: The full implementation of our economic partnership agreements to boost bilateral trade investment should remain our joint priority. Japan is the EU’s first connectivity partner and must continue to make concrete progress on high standard infrastructure projects in third countries.
We should complete our negotiations of the so-called “horizontal agreement” on air transport as soon as possible. And we are fostering cooperation in the industrial research and innovation and space sectors. This includes the possibility for Japan to be associated with the Horizon Europe research programme.
We have also strengthened our security and defence cooperation. The EU decided to reinforce its strategic focus on the Indo-Pacific region. We have a strong interest to intensify, with Japan, our cooperation in maritime security, technology cooperation, cybersecurity, disinformation, and promoting fundamental values and principles in the region. As human rights and democracy are attacked around the world, the EU and Japan need to coordinate our actions.
“We also discussed a range of regional affairs, including the situation in the East and the South China Sea, DPRK, Iran and JCPOA, Myanmar, Ukraine, Russia or China. We look forward to our next meeting in Tokyo to further strengthen our EU-Japan relationship.”