Go to content
Email subscription
  • 06/07/2017
  • 12:30
  • Statements and remarks
  • 440/17
  • Foreign affairs & international relations
  • International trade & customs

Dear Prime Minister, dear Shinzo, dear Jean-Claude, I am very happy to welcome you in Brussels today for our extraordinary EU-Japan Summit. Actually, we planned this some time ago, when we promised to do everything in our power to conclude political and trade talks between Japan and the European Union on the eve of the G20 summit. And we did it. 

Please let me refer briefly to the political context. Less than two weeks ago, here in Brussels, European leaders discussed how to defend ourselves against unfair trade practices. How to reconcile free trade and fair trade. Of course, we were not thinking about Japan or the ongoing negotiations. But bearing in mind the fears and anxieties of our people, which are often justified, we made decisions about how to improve our trade defence instruments. Not to cut Europe off from the rest of the world, but to be able to conduct effective trade. Because we, as the European Union, firmly believe in the political purpose of a world which is built on openness, cooperation and trade. 

In the context of the discussion about Brexit, we have heard statements claiming that it isn't worth being in the European Union, as it is easier to do global trade outside of the EU. Today we have shown that this is not true. The EU is more and more engaged globally. And ahead of the EU are negotiations with Mercosur countries, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia and others.   

Although some are saying that the time of isolationism and disintegration is coming again, we are demonstrating that this is not the case. That the world really doesn't need to go a hundred years back in time. Quite the opposite. It doesn't have to be so. As we are proving with Japan. And do you know why this agreement was possible? Because it's not just about common trade interests. It is, above all, about the shared values that underpin our societies, by which I mean liberal democracy, human rights and the rule of law. This basis of shared values, which we not only respect, but which - in accordance with the Strategic Partnership Agreement - we have committed to promote, has allowed us to conclude these negotiations. And most importantly, no-one lost. 

Let me also thank Jean-Claude and his team, as well as the Japanese negotiators, for their excellent work. Congratulations, well done! 

Finally, let me focus on North Korea. Today, we agreed to call on the international community to strengthen measures aimed at further restricting the transfer of relevant items and technologies, as well as funding, for North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. In this regard we appeal for the early adoption of a new and comprehensive UN Security Council Resolution.