The 14th meeting of the Joint Committee between the European Union (EU) and the Republic of Korea was held in Brussels on Friday 15 December 2017. The Republic of Korea is a Strategic Partner of the EU, the only one in Asia that is linked with the EU through three agreements, covering the pillars of political, economic relations and trade, and security cooperation.
The Joint Committee provided an opportunity to review dialogues and cooperation in detail. The EU-Republic of Korea partnership is becoming deeper and stronger. Both delegations agreed to organise in 2018 two specialised working groups: one on on counterterrorism; and the other on energy, environment and climate change.
They also reviewed key aspects of the implementation of the EU-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement to prepare for the discussions at Ministerial level of the EU-Republic of Korea Trade Committee meeting, scheduled for January in Brussels. They also discussed the possibilities of more extensive cooperation under the Framework Participation Agreement, which makes it possible for the Republic of Korea to participate in EU crisis management operations.
Multilateral cooperation and joint work to address global issues continue to progress, with the Republic of Korea and the European Union aligned on most global, international and regional issues. This is particularly evident when it comes to votes in the UN framework. The pressing matter of addressing climate change, among others, was identified as an area for reinforced cooperation and the definition of concrete proposals.
Additionally, sectoral discussions covering research and innovation, culture, education and researchers’ mobility, employment and social affairs, as well as data protection were held. Ways to maximise the potential of existing cooperation were identified as well as new areas of joint work together with deliverables for the next EU-Republic of Korea Summit to be held in Brussels next year. An event on social dialogue will soon be organised between the two, and work is ongoing to allow the Commission to determine that the Republic of Korea ensures an adequate level of protection of personal data, with the view to facilitating data flows with the EU, as expressed by the European Commission in its Communication of 10 January 2017 on “Exchanging and Protecting Personal Data in a globalised World”.
Finally, the delegations also held a detailed discussion on the EU’s list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions and clarified steps to be taken by the Republic of Korea to ensure that the country would move from Annex 1 to Annex 2 of the list as soon as possible, implying that initial steps will have been taken to address the EU’s concerns.
The EU delegation was led by Mr Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director of the Asia and Pacific Department of the European External ActionService, and the Republic of Korea delegation was led by Mr Kang-Hyeon Yun, Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The EU-Republic of Korea Joint Committee will next meet in 2018 in Seoul.