Former European Council President Van Rompuy awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun
EU News 310/2015
3 November 2015
The government of Japan today announced that it would bestow the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun to former European Council President Herman Van Rompuy in recognition of his efforts to strengthen relations between Japan and Europe, and to promote mutual understanding.
Mr Van Rompuy, who served as the first permanent president of the European Council from December 2009 to November 2014, is also well known for his love of haiku, publishing his works in multiple languages. In June this year, Japan's Foreign Ministry appointed him 'haiku ambassador' for the role he has played in helping enhance relations between the European Union and Japan through this poetry form.
Upon learning that he was to receive the decoration, Mr Van Rompuy said, 'I feel very honoured because it is a very high distinction. It is a recognition of the mutual trust we had, the EU and Japan, during my mandate'. On the future of EU-Japan relations, he noted how the two partners share not only common interests, but common values, such as democracy and market economies.
'The relationship is full of untapped potential. We can do much more', he said. 'I hope the negotiations toward a free trade agreement and a strategic partnership agreement will be finished soon. This will bring our relationship to the level it deserves'.
Mr Mario Monti, who served as European Commissioner from 1995 to 2004, and Mr Jacques Santer, president of the European Commission from 1995 to 1999, also received the same honour.
Herman Van Rompuy, Mario Monti, Jacques Santer (C)EU 1999-2015 URL