The EU-Japan summit on 29 May was described as ‘positive’ by those attending the meeting. Prime Minister Abe hosted EU Council President Donald Tusk, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, HR/VP Federica Mogherini and Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.
The two sides reviewed progress on the FTA negotiations and the parallel strategic partnership agreement. They agreed to accelerate the negotiations on both with a view to completion as soon as possible ‘preferably by the end of 2015.’ (Japan is on the brink of concluding the TPP with the US and several Asian partners which will also impact on the EU).
The summit touched on several hot spot issues including Ukraine and Russia, East Asian security, the Korean Peninsula, the Middle East and Africa.
Both parties confirmed they would not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and called on all parties to implement the Minsk agreements.
By Centre for European Reform
The security challenges facing EU member-states and south-east Asian countries are strikingly similar. Both regions have difficulties with their neighbours: assertive Chinese claims in the South China Sea are a less dramatic version of Russia’s annexation of Crimea; refugees in boats and illegal migration are creating humanitarian and security challenges, and piracy threatens sea-borne commerce.
On 21 May the EU adopted a communication to strengthen EU-ASEAN relations. The plans include a number of proposals including:
- taking trade relations with ASEAN to a different level and working towards an ambitious region to region Free Trade Agreement (FTA) building on bilateral agreements between the EU and ASEAN Member States
- stepping up cooperation on 'Connectivity' by exchanging lessons learned and by mobilising the financial means and expertise to support ASEAN efforts, including on the single market and through negotiating a civil aviation agreement;
- strengthening collaboration on climate change and initiating a new, dedicated EU-ASEAN policy dialogue on environment and sustainable development;
- more than doubling EU financial support for ASEAN integration (to 170 million) which comes on top of the EUR 2 billion for ASEAN Member States;
- implementing an extensive ‘package’ of new initiatives in the area of non-traditional security (maritime security, disaster management and crisis response, transnational crime, training courses on preventive diplomacy, crisis management, mediation, the rule of law and election observation).
The EU-Asia Centre invites you to a panel discussion on ‘EU-Japan relations after the Summit’ at the Press Club, 95 Rue Froissart, from 1700-1830 on 2 June.
EU-ASIA Centre is a think tank dedicated to promoting closer relations between the EU and Asia.