Remarks by President Donald Tusk before the EU-Japan Leaders’ meeting
Brussels, 3 May 2016 – Before I go further, let me express our heartfelt condolences to the people of Japan on the devastating earthquakes that have struck Kyushu. Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones in this catastrophe. We can only look with admiration upon Japan’s resilience when faced with natural disasters of this magnitude.
Dear Prime Minister, your visit to Brussels ahead of the G7 summit marks a fruitful cooperation between Japan and the EU. Our relations are based on common values: liberal democracy, the rule of law and the freedom of expression. These are the foundations of our political systems. They unite us and also make us stronger internationally, especially during difficult times we live in. From the East and South China Seas to the conflicts in Syria and the wider Middle East to Ukraine, the G7 will need to keep unity. I am pleased that the G7 summit will begin with leaders’ debating these very fundamental values, which make us who we are.
I wish to thank the Prime Minister for putting at our request the migration and refugee crisis on top of the G7 agenda. This is a global crisis and we need to realise that no single country – or no group of countries for that matter – holds a golden key to solving it. Therefore we need to build a global awareness and encourage others to step up their efforts. The international community needs to acknowledge that countries like Lebanon or Jordan are providing a global public good in assisting refugees. This public good has to be financed by the global community.
During these challenging times, both in terms of geopolitics and economics, we need to make sure that Europe contributes to stability rather than global instability. We should do all in our power to dispel uncertainties. There is no doubt that a successful completion of the ongoing review of Greece’s programme would strengthen confidence. I urge Finance Ministers to reach an agreement very soon and I hope that by the end of May, when we meet at the G7 summit, the implementation of Greece’s programme is positively assessed. I want to encourage all the ministers and institutions to re-double their efforts in finalising the review.
Finally we will review progress in our bilateral relations and provide a clear political steer to our negotiators on a Free Trade Agreement. I hope we can conclude the negotiations for both agreements in the near future. Let me however recall that the EU is interested in a strategic partnership with Japan that will be underpinned by an ambitious trade deal. For this to happen both sides need to demonstrate political will.
Statement by President Jean-Claude Juncker at the EU-Japan Leaders’ Meeting
Brussels, 3 May 2016 – We have, the two of us, an excellent relationship, and have met three times over the last year. Now I look forward to the next G7 Summit which Japan will host at the end of this month.
I also extend my condolences to the victims and their families, following the recent earthquakes on Kyushu. We offer you our full support at this difficult time.
During the first months of 2016, the G7 countries were facing tremendous challenges. Today, we need to show unity and leadership as we respond to a series of challenges that demand our coordination.
This is especially true of migration, one of the defining global challenges of our century. The international community must do its fair share, by helping to resettle refugees and by providing assistance. The Trust Funds that the European Union has created – for Africa and for Syria – are open to other donors.
Turning to the global economy, the recovery across leading economies is still too modest. We face a number of risks – including slower growth in emerging economies – and therefore we need to combine our forces to promote growth and investment.
This is why our Free Trade Agreement with Japan is so important. Our negotiations have progressed but now we must finish the job. I am confident we can do this before the end of this year. Our agreement will not only boost growth and jobs in Europe and Japan but also send a positive signal to the rest of the world.
Investment is also vital, and I welcome the Prime Minister’s decision to put this on the G7 agenda. Greater investment goes together with structural reforms and responsible public finances. The EU’s Investment Plan for Europe has now mobilised more than 82 billion euro in the first ten months. I invite Japanese investors to take part in the European Fund for Strategic Investment.
We must also work together to make our economies more transparent and fair, mainly as far as the fight against tax evasion is concerned.
Finally, let me welcome Japan’s recent legislation on security. At a time when we need to share intelligence and work together against terrorist finance, closer cooperation between the European Union and Japan would be a major step forward.
I know that the Prime Minister is fully committed to all parts of our common agenda, and we look forward to working together, both bilaterally and in the G7.