Sommaire: EU-Korea Summit, September 9th (Brussels: 8 September 2006)
EU leaders will travel to Finland to meet the President of the Republic of Korea Roh Moo-hyun for the Third Summit between the European Union (EU) and the Republic of Korea (ROK, commonly known as South Korea) in Helsinki on 9th September 2006. Alongside European Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso and European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU will be represented by the Prime Minister of Finland Mr Matti Vanhanen in his capacity as President of the European Union and High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana.
Discussions will cover a wide range of economic and political issues. On the economic side, leaders will discuss ways of building on the already important EU-South Korea trading relationship.
Political discussions will particularly focus on developments on the Korean Peninsula, including North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes, inter-Korean relations and the EU's policy towards North Korea. They will also cover wider developments in North East Asia and other international matters including Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, the WTO Doha Development Agenda and climate change.
President Barroso said "I am looking forward to this Summit as an opportunity to discuss a range of important subjects of mutual interest including how to continue to build on and consolidate our strong trade relations and other cooperation. This Summit will also serve to underline our firm and enduring commitment to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and to improving security in the Northeast Asian region".
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner said "Following my visit to South Korea in April this year, I am keen to see how we can build on the positive developments we have seen in areas such as trade and economic relations, cooperation on regional issues and on energy and the environment. A good example of our co operation together is the EU/ROK Galileo Agreement that I will be signing at the Summit".
EU/South Korea relations are developing well under the Framework Agreement on Trade and Cooperation signed in 1996 and in recent years new areas of co-operation have been launched on a wide range of subjects: people-to-people links, competition policy, science and technology, fusion energy (including the participation of ROK in ITER) and now satellite navigation.
South Korea is the EU's fourth-largest trading partner outside the European continent (after the US, China and Japan) and its eighth-largest overall. The Commission will underline the importance of Korean action on a number of outstanding issues concerning the automotive sector, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Leaders will also note the recent opening of exploratory discussions on a possible future Free-Trade Agreement between the two sides. The two sides will also sign an EU-Korean agreement on satellite navigation, which provides for ROK's co-operation with the EU's Galileo initiative.
With regard to North Korea, the EU looks forward to hearing the latest evaluation from South Korea of the Six Party Talks process. The EU is not a participant in this process, but has made clear its readiness to play its part in the context of an overall political solution to the problems arising from North Korea's nuclear weapons programme and missile issue. The EU has been a participant in KEDO since 1997 and has contributed substantial humanitarian aid to the DPRK since 1995.
The Summit will demonstrate the EU's commitment to pursuing an enhanced dialogue with ROK on developments in the region, and stress its determination to intensify relations with the ROK and Asia.