Countries & Regions

Japan-EU Summit Telephone Talks

March 25, 2013

On Monday March 25, from 18:30 for about 30 minutes, Prime Minister Shinzo ABE spoke by telephone with H.E. Mr. Herman VAN ROMPUY, President of the European Council and H.E. Mr. José Manuel BARROSO, President of the European Commission. The outline of the talks is as follows. From Japanese side, Chief Cabinet Secretary Mr. Yoshihide SUGA, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Mr. Katsunobu KATO and other government officials participated in the talks. As an outcome of the talks, the leaders issued a Joint Press Release (PDF).

1. Opening
The EU leaders expressed their regrets over the postponement of the 21st Japan-EU Summit due to the situation in Cyprus, and they explained that the EU had been able to reach an agreement on its support to that country. In response, Prime Minister Abe stated that the postponement was unfortunate but the situation that led to the postponement was understandable. He also welcomed the agreement that could help handle the situation in Cyprus.

2. Japan-EU Relations
Taking into account the strategic importance of Japan-EU relations, the EU leaders expressed their willingness to reschedule the Summit at an earliest possible occasion and to exchange views on Japan-EU relations and various challenges which the international community is facing. They stated that it was appropriate to agree on the launch of the negotiations for a Japan-EU EPA/FTA and an agreement covering political, global and sectoral cooperation in order to further strengthen cordial relations between Japan and the EU.
In response, Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan and the EU need to further strengthen their partnership under the changing strategic environment, and he was very pleased to decide the launch of the negotiations for the two agreements. He expressed his willingness to start these negotiations in April as well as his commitment to their earliest possible conclusion. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe stated that he would like to achieve a high-level EPA/FTA which would contribute to economic growth both in Japan and the EU and thereby to the development of the world economy as a whole. He also said that the Japan-EU agreement, covering political, global and sectoral cooperation should properly reflect their relations as global partners sharing fundamental values.

3. Regional Affairs
With regard to regional affairs, Prime Minister Abe stated that it is indispensable for the EU to maintain the arms embargo against China and to strictly enforce the export control, including dual-use items, given the increasingly challenging security environment in East Asia. He expressed his deep regret with a series of provocative actions by North Korea, and reiterated his commitment to solve the abduction issue and welcomed the establishment of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea by the UN Human Rights Council. Furthermore, he stated that it is essential for Japan and the EU to collaborate in dual track approach of dialogue and pressure and work towards peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue in Iran. The EU leaders responded that there was no move of lifting the arms embargo against China at the moment. They also said that they had concerns over the current trends of North Korea and insisted on the importance of implementing the Resolutions of the UN Security Council. Regarding the situation in Iran, they welcomed the work done by Japan and explained the EU’s efforts on maintaining the dual track approach of dialogue and pressure.