Joint press release: Republic of Korea - EU Leaders’ video conference meeting
Brussels, 30/06/2020 - 15:26, UNIQUE ID: 200630_6
H.E. Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea, H.E. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and H.E. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, held a Leaders’ meeting via video conference on 30 June 2020.
The leaders acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every country of the world, leading to immense human suffering, putting enormous strains on healthcare and welfare systems, as well as badly hitting economies and putting jobs at risk. They expressed their strong commitment to overcoming this challenge by working together with partners globally and in solidarity, including in the G20 and the United Nations system. United by common values of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms, rule of law, and non-discrimination, the leaders stressed the importance they attach to effective multilateralism.
Marking the 10th anniversary of its establishment, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the EU-Republic of Korea Strategic Partnership underpinned by a Framework Agreement, a Free Trade Agreement, and a Framework Participation Agreement for EU crisis management operations. Leaders explored further areas of cooperation within the Strategic Partnership and looked forward to holding a Summit Meeting in Seoul in the near future when conditions will allow.
The leaders shared their respective experience in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU commended the Republic of Korea’s proactive and innovative steps to prevent and tackle COVID-19 in a transparent, open and democratic way. The leaders stressed the importance of strengthened response capacities and enhanced information sharing. The EU and the Republic of Korea will seek to strengthen cooperation in this regard, involving the respective health authorities and centers for disease control. In this context, they welcomed the cooperation between the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety of the Republic of Korea and the European Medicines Agency in relation to COVID-19. The leaders also discussed the need for mutual support to ensure access to medical products, as well as cooperation in research and development of vaccines and medicines, to respond to emerging infectious diseases. They called for the future COVID-19 vaccine to become a global common good. They commended the successful pledging initiative of the "Coronavirus Global Response" that started on 4 May, raising over €9.8 billion. President Moon welcomed the EU’s initiative, and the EU leaders paid tribute to the Republic of Korea for its contribution.
The leaders reconfirmed their support to the World Health Organization, acknowledging the role it plays in coordinating the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. They welcomed the recently adopted resolution at the 73rd World Health Assembly, which requests the Director General of the WHO to initiate, at the earliest appropriate moment, a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation to review experience gained and lessons learnt from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19.
Confirming their resolve to assist developing countries, including in Africa, in facing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the leaders welcomed the aid pledge by the EU, including its Member States, of over €36 billion and the commitment of the Republic of Korea to step up its support to partner countries in strengthening their healthcare systems and tackling the economic and social impact. They also welcomed the financial support deployed by the IMF, World Bank and other international institutions, and the time bound debt suspension initiative for the poorest countries agreed by the G20 and the Paris Club.
The leaders are determined to restore robust economic growth and build more resilient, sustainable and inclusive economies and societies. Green transition and digital transformation will be integrated into their recovery strategies. The leaders welcomed the G20 Action Plan adopted by the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to support the global economy during and after the pandemic and agreed to continue coordinating their responses.
They reiterated their goal to keep markets and the trading system open, to work to resolve disruptions to global supply chains and to realise a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, which is critical to support the global economic recovery. In this regard, they welcomed the “G20 Actions to Support World Trade and Investment in Response to COVID-19” endorsed by the G20 Trade and Investment Ministers. They emphasised that emergency measures aimed at protecting health should be targeted, proportionate, transparent and temporary in order to avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.
The leaders are resolved to strengthen the multilateral, rules-based trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core and to further strengthen its relevance through thorough reforms. They agreed on the importance of exploring a possible initiative by WTO members to facilitate trade in medical supplies, so as to reinforce global preparedness for health emergencies. The leaders acknowledged their commitment to further enhance the implementation of the EU-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement. In this context, they acknowledged the urgent need to reduce non-tariff barriers to trade and to facilitate administrative procedures, notably to improve access for agri-food products to each other’s markets. The EU leaders encouraged the Republic of Korea to make continued efforts to take relevant measures on labour issues, including the ratification of the fundamental International Labour Organization Conventions.
The leaders reiterated their strong commitment to the full, swift and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. They recognised that COVID-19 reconstruction measures can provide an opportunity to accelerate the transition towards climate neutrality. They underlined the urgency of stepping up the global response to climate change and environmental degradation. Recognising the second P4G (Partnering for Green Growth and Global Goals 2030) Summit foreseen to be held in Korea in 2021 as a stepping stone for the success of the COP26, the leaders agreed to work towards a successful summit. The EU leaders welcomed the constructive role played by the Global Green Growth Institute in combating climate change. The leaders also recognised the value of bilateral cooperation on energy transition toward the green economy and committed to promote renewable and innovative energy resources.
The leaders committed to strengthen cooperation in responding to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, harnessing human-centric digitalisation and promoting safe and ethical implementation of Artificial Intelligence technologies. They will explore opportunities to enhance research and innovation cooperation and confirmed the launching in the near future of the High-Level Dialogue on the digital economy. With a view to facilitating safe and secure cross border data flows between them, based on strong convergence of data protection rules ensuring a high level of protection of personal data and privacy, the leaders also welcomed the significant progress made in the talks on a data adequacy decision.
The leaders agreed to strengthen joint efforts to promote connectivity based on the principles of sustainability, openness, inclusiveness and transparency, respecting a level playing field. In this context, they welcomed the signing of the EU-Republic of Korea Horizontal Aviation Agreement and expressed their commitment to launching the Transport Dialogue.
The leaders discussed the geopolitical situation in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. They reiterated their resolve to uphold the rules-based international order and looked forward to practical cooperation in areas such as cyber security and countering disinformation and other hybrid threats. Concerned that the spread of the virus may escalate some regional conflicts and make it harder to protect civilians in armed conflict, particularly the most vulnerable groups, they supported the UN Secretary-General’s call for an immediate global ceasefire and insisted on respect for humanitarian principles.
The leaders reaffirmed their intention to consult and coordinate to help advance international peace and stability, based on the obligations and commitments under international law. They discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The EU affirmed its support to the Republic of Korea’s efforts to engage with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to achieve peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. The leaders also exchanged views on the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) and the conflict in eastern Ukraine.