Remarks by President Donald Tusk before the EU-Japan Leaders' meeting
Porta-voz do Presidente do Conselho Europeu
Dear Prime Minister, dear Shinzō, I am very pleased to welcome you today in Brussels. Your visit gives us an opportunity to push ahead and deepen our bilateral relations, as well as to coordinate before the G7 summit in May in Sicily.
Both our friendship and strategic partnership have produced sustained and deep mutual benefits for many decades, and will continue to do so. We remain united by our common values of liberal democracy and the rule of law as the core principles of the rules-based international order. As two of the four main economies in the world, Japan and the European Union are tied deeply together by our mutual commitment to maintain an open, free and fair global trading system.
These values are the foundations of our political systems. They unite us and also make us stronger internationally, especially during the difficult times we live in.
It is from this perspective that today we will review progress in our bilateral relations and provide a clear political direction to our negotiators on the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement and the Strategic Partnership Agreement. Let me assure you that the European Union is fully committed to concluding the negotiations for both agreements very soon and together, Prime Minister, I'm sure that we will achieve these two highly ambitious deals. They will strengthen our political and economic strategic partnership.
Regarding our priorities for the upcoming G7 Summit, I believe there is a very large degree of convergence between the EU and Japan. We share a common interest in preserving G7 unity in strengthening the rules-based international order to address common challenges - from the economy and trade to climate change, migration, security and terrorism; from the East and South China Seas, North Korea, to the conflicts in Syria and the wider Middle East, to Ukraine.
March is a special month of renewal as we celebrate the spring equinox and prepare to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome this very Saturday. And as we continue to make plans for a prosperous and peaceful future, we also pause to commemorate the tragic events of Fukushima in March 2011 and the Brussels terrorist attacks of March last year. Let me convey the European Union's solidarity and appreciation for the resilience of the people of Japan and the European Union. As in the words of a Japanese proverb: “Nana korobi ya oki”. Or in English: 'Fall down seven times, get up eight'.
Lastly, in view of what was announced in London yesterday, I would like to inform you that I will call a European Council on Saturday 29th April to adopt the Guidelines for the Brexit talks. As you all know, I personally wish the UK hadn't chosen to leave the EU, but the majority of British voters decided otherwise. Therefore, we must do everything we can to make the process of divorce the least painful for the EU. Our main priority for the negotiations must be to create as much certainty and clarity as possible for all citizens, companies and Member States that will be negatively affected by Brexit, as well as our important partners and friends around the world, like Japan.
Dear Prime Minister, dear Shinzō, once again a warm welcome to Brussels. Thank you very much.