Dear Prime Minister, it is a great pleasure to once again welcome you in Brussels for the 26th EU-Japan Summit, not just because we are good friends, but also because of the deep bond between Japan and the EU. Our strategic partnership has never been stronger. It is built on shared values of liberal democracy, human rights and our commitment to openness, cooperation as well as free and fair trade.
Only two months ago, our bond was further deepened by the entry into force of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, the largest trade deal in the world. By implementing it swiftly, we are boosting prosperity and quality of life of our people. This is a clear message to the world that Japan and Europe stand side by side.
Today with Prime Minister Abe we discussed the G20 Summit in Osaka. I would like to express full European support for Japanese leadership. Japan can count on the EU. We will do our best to make the Summit a success for our people as well as for the whole global order, based on rules.
Today we also discussed threats to peace and stability in our respective neighbourhoods. We continue to voice our full support for Ukraine’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty. And, together with Japan, we have a shared interest in lasting peace on the Korean peninsula. We call on DPRK to concretely engage on denuclearisation and the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all its nuclear weapons. We also expect a quick resolution of the abductions issue.
We also look forward to intensifying security and defence cooperation, in the fields of counter-terrorism, cyber and maritime security, and crisis management. The recent terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka are a reminder that the terrorist threat affects us all. Combatting it together remains a top priority.
Let me conclude by wishing Japan and its people all the best with the inauguration of the new imperial era. The name of the new imperial era, Reiwa – and I know it’s hard to find an accurate English translation of this word, but let’s call it, ‘Beautiful Harmony’ – Reiwa could also be the motto of our EU-Japan relations. Thank you.