The Office of the European Union Representative
(West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNRWA)

EU Ambassador's Welcoming Speech at EU-Korea Research & Innovation Day

31/10/2019 - 02:54
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​​​​​​​09:35-09:40 (5'), Wednesday, 30th October, 2019 Grand Ballroom, LL Millennium Hilton Seoul Hotel

Vice Minister

President Roe,

Dear Christina Russo,

Distinguished Guests, colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning! It is a pleasure and honour to welcome you to the EU-Korea Research and Innovation Day. I have heard many Koreans saying that "autumn is the best season for reading." Like a rewarding book, our diverse programmes will provide you with plenty of food for thought and networking opportunities. I am more than confident that the information you receive and the contacts you make today will prove to be stepping stones in your research and business development.

In preparing this event, we thought about what the Korean research and innovation sector wants to see from Europe. What strengths does Europe have and how can Europe contribute to research and innovation in Korea? Why would Korean scientists, researchers and innovators want to study and work in Europe and with Europe? Maybe, some of you are here to find out the answers to my questions.

Europe has long emphasised research and innovation as a vehicle for promoting stable and sustainable economic development and enabling the quantum leaps in development that bring about a better life for everyone.

With just 7% of the world population, the European Union takes up 20% of the global R&D expenditure, 27% of patent applications, and 32% of all high-quality scientific publications. These figures are testament to the EU's persistent and intensive support for science and technology over the long-term.

Along this road, the EU has been able to accumulate abundant knowhow and excellent human resources. Europe thinks that science and technology should be developed in a way that facilitates sustainable modes of lifestyle in a comfortable, meaningful, and valuable manner.

The EU has run ambitious framework programmes for research since 1986 that have aimed at supporting sustainable growth and addressing global challenges. We are now at the 8th stage under the title "Horizon2020".

The programme aims to bring together researchers and companies from within and outside of Europe. Through research grants, it enables researchers to acquire knowledge and expertise while building extensive networks.

Now, the EU is preparing its next programme, Horizon Europe, which will succeed Horizon 2020. It is an ambitious and influential research and innovation programme with a budget of 100 billion euros. The European Commission has identified the first possible specific areas – or "missions" to be covered. These include cancer, climate change, healthy oceans, climate-neutral cities, and healthy soil and food'. This is in line challenges that the EU citizens and global society are currently facing.

To successfully complete these "missions" and create synergies, it is essential to bring together "brain power" from around the world. I dare to say that international cooperation in research and innovation is no longer an option, but a necessity.

In this sense, Korea is a very important partner for the EU. Korea is a country with the economic clout to make a real difference on global issues.

It is the first Asian country with which the EU has signed treaties on political, economic and security cooperation. This should come as no surprise, because the EU and Korea have common interests including science, technology, research and innovation.

We all are well aware that Korea has some of the most innovative researchers and companies in the world. I admire the passion and spirit, that has made your country the world's 12th largest economy and 7th largest exporter.

I am aware of the magnificent work already completed by Korean participants in Horizon2020 projects through strong collaboration with European partners. This afternoon, several eminent Korean researchers who have already experienced Horizon2020 will share their actual experiences with you at the individual thematic sessions.

Now, it is time to look at the global challenges that the next generation will face. We have to prepare for the 4th Industrial Revolution, an era, we in which might face things that we have not yet even imagined, take the suggestion of AI soldiers for example!

Technological development brings economic prosperity and convenience, but when used in the wrong way, can bring about negative consequences. In this regard, the EU seeks to share balanced views and ethical mind-sets in research and innovation with our partner countries in the world.

For example, the EU introduced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to protect all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches in today’s data-driven world.

We have proposed that partner countries, including Korea, upgrade data protection up to our level so that people have more control over their personal data and businesses benefit from a level playing field.

So, this is where Europe is now standing. I look forward to a safer and more peaceful life in the future and to find soluttions to fight climate change effectively and quickly. I strongly believe that science and technology, and research and innovation will make my wish come true. To achieve this, the role of researchers and innovators and their determination to push ahead will be vital.. I hope this event will contribute to your research, business, and further cooperation. Once again, welcome to the EU-Korea Research and Innovation Day and please enjoy every moment of the conference with us.

Thank you.



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