The Republic of Korea is a Strategic Partner of the European Union and the first to have signed bilateral agreements in the three areas of political, trade and security cooperation in EU-led crisis management operations. The working group provides a framework for reflection and concrete cooperation on the transition to clean energy and low carbon and resource-efficient economies. Both delegations concurred that it should meet on a regular basis with the double aim of generating added value in terms of policy-making and of translating it in practical cooperation activities, including on technological synergies and identification of trade opportunities.
Participants first discussed EU-Republic of Korea cooperation on the energy transition to a low-carbon economy andhorizontal issues like renewable energy and energy efficiency, carbon markets and pollution reduction. Both partners have similar approaches towards aligning climate, energy and environment policies. This working group will further enhance coordination between their respective services to help them ensure that they can generate more accountable targets in the policy-making process.
Environment issues also figured prominently in the discussions. Both the EU and the Republic of Korea face unprecedented challenges that require global and sustainable solutions on topics like air pollution, plastics and safe management of chemicals among others. There was agreement to continue cooperation and regular exchanges on these issues as well as on the broader transition to the circular economy and other topics of mutual interest.
The delegations also exchanged views on their respective energy policies to address shared challenges towards the clean energy transition. Discussions also covered energy security and the adjustment of the energy mix in the light of the Paris Agreement. Both acknowledged the crucial role of open flexible and transparent liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets. Participants discussed the Republic of Korea’s Renewable Energy Plan (RE 3020) which foresees an increase by 20% of the share of renewable energy in the power generation. In this context, the delegations looked into efficient electricity transmission and interconnections and the positive role of smart grids, including in combination with solar energy generation and energy storage. The European Union and the Republic of Korea agreed to continue their discussions and aim for concrete joint actions in the coming months, focussing in particular on (i) the energy performance of buildings supported by appropriate building codes and new technologies; (ii) LNG by extending and enhancing current cooperation and (iii) off-shore wind energy, including consumer empowerment measures as a way to foster public acceptance, and investment facilitation.
The meeting was also an opportunity to assess the destabilising impact of climate change, with both the EU and the Republic of Korea reiterating their commitment to swift and full implementation of the Paris Agreement. Participants also exchanged information on the progress in domestic implementation of their commitments under the agreement and examined new opportunities to scale up their bilateral dialogues on climate change and energy to facilitate the exchange of policy options and good practice between the European Union and the Republic of Korea. They agreed that together they can help generate the necessary political momentum to further promote climate actions that will allow the world to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Finally, participants agreed that in dealing with the challenges of energy, environment and climate change, collective action at global level is needed, anchored in the multilateral system. The European Union and the Republic of Korea are committed to work with others, including through the United Nations to address both the root causes of climate change and environmental degradation, but also to manage its inescapable impacts, reflected by the recent extreme weather events.
The EU delegation was led by Mrs Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director of the Asia and Pacific Department, European External Action Service. The Delegation of the Republic of Korea was led by Mr Sei-joong Kwon, Director General for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.
The next meeting of the specialised working group on Energy, Environment, Climate C
hange is foreseen to take place next year in Seoul.