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The Role of the Delegation
Happy New Year and thank you for stopping by at our website!
One of our New Year’s resolutions is to beef-up the Korean language version of the website. The arrival in our team of Mrs Jinna Kim, the Delegation's first permanent interpreter / translator, will help us ensure that you receive up-to-date information in Korean language on a regular and timely basis. We will also continue updating you in real-time on our social media accounts Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Naver Blog. You may also like to follow my personal impressions on my Twitter and Instagram feeds.
This New Year has started with what the old one had in surprisingly large supply: summits between leaders of countries in the region. President Xi and Chairman Kim have got the ball rolling this year with their fourth meeting – we hope more summits will follow to get the denuclearisation process going again.
The EU supports this diplomatic process wholeheartedly. At the EU-Korea Summit in October, the EU leaders reiterated their support for President Moon Jae-in's diplomatic endeavours for peace. Developments last year show that the longstanding EU policy of “critical engagement” of the DPRK, i.e. maintaining pressure while keeping lines of communication open in efforts to achieve the denuclearisation called for in UN Security Council Resolutions, is now mainstream policy. I hope that 2019 will produce the results needed to maintain the momentum created last year.
This year we will continue working with Korea to implement the Free Trade Agreement, which has boosted trade between the two partners over the last eight years. We will seek to get the very best from the agreement by modernising it and bringing it into line the state of the art agreements more recently entered into with Canada and Japan.
We are encouraged by signals that the Korean government will undertake serious efforts to promote the ratification of the four core ILO Conventions to which it is not yet a party. The EU stands ready to continue cooperation in sharing experiences in building effective social dialogue.
I hope that 2019 will bring progress on a range of bilateral issues between the EU and Korea.
I am convinced that after a decade of talks, the Korean consumer will welcome an opening of the Korean beef market to high-quality European produce.
We look forward to sharing experience in promoting small and medium enterprises. The Gateway Business Mission programme will continue to bring European SMEs to Korea to forge productive relations with counterparts.
A new EU-Korea agreement on aviation will boost exchanges across the board.
I am confident that the talks on equivalency regarding data protection will soon be concluded successfully. This will boost business while ensuring digital and human rights to privacy are respected. Almost daily incidents show us the importance of further enhancing already strong cooperation on cyber-security.
Working together in Science and Technology has long been a success story in our relations and we will continue to link research and innovation through dialogue on the 4th Industrial Revolution.
The EU and Korea benefit in terms of security and economy from the maintenance of the rules-based, liberal international order. Support for multilateralism and the international rule of law will continue to form the underlying principles of our relationship. The EU Foreign Ministers have recently confirmed that the EU wants to intensify security cooperation in and with Asia; a comprehensive Connectivity Strategy, that will promote cooperate in linking not only infrastructure, but also people will play a key role in this cooperation.
I stop here with the list of cooperation in order not to overload you all at once. However, I invite you check back once in a while whether we are managing to deliver on these and other issues.
Last but not least we will face important challenges this year in Europe too: BREXIT needs a solution, the European Parliament (the only directly elected transnational parliament world-wide) will hold elections and a new College of 27 European Commissioners will be selected and in place by November.
Thus, may ‘living in interesting times’ become a challenge which we master together and not a curse.
Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Korea