The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2005

The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2005

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Press Release
Jean-Claude Juncker: "Japan is a strategic partner of the utmost importance"

Date of release : 02-05-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Event : EU-Japan Summit

The 14th Summit between the European Union and Japan was held on 2 May 2005 in Luxembourg under the Luxembourg Presidency. The European Union was represented by Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Council, by Javier Solana, High Representative for CFSP, and by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. Japan was represented by its Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi.

"For the European Union, Japan is a strategic partner of the utmost importance," Jean-Claude Juncker said. Furthermore, "one need only look at the figures that characterize trade between the European Union and Japan to understand that relations between the EU and Japan are excellent." Thus, "the European Union and Japan together account for 40% of the planet’s GDP and 30% of world trade. Moreover, the Union is the largest investor in Japan, while Japan is number one in Europe in terms of direct foreign investments."

"All of this explains that relations between the two partners run deep," the President of the European Council stated. However, "they extend beyond simple economic relations, because they are seeking to become increasingly political," Jean-Claude Juncker stated before noting that relations have sought to be more political since the creation of the EU-Japan summits in 1991.

As for relations with China and Russia, Jean-Claude Juncker made the following statement: "We consider that for us Russia and China are partners of very great importance. That does not prevent us from having differences of opinion regarding some aspects of relations with these two countries."

As for China, Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker noted that at the European Council meeting of December 2004, the Luxembourg Presidency was assigned the responsibility of attempting to find a solution to the matter of lifting the embargo against China by the end of June. "We are in the process of discussing this matter among ourselves. We are debating this issue with our closest partners, the United States and Japan, and we take very seriously the observations made by both countries" president Juncker said before he stressed that "in the event that it reaches an agreement to lift the embargo, the EU's intention is not to resume exports of arms to China in such a way that would endanger the security concerns that are regularly expressed by our partners."

The summit was also the opportunity to observe that the Japanese support the European Union's policies of engagement in Iran.

The situation in Iraq was another subject addressed at the EU-Japan Summit. "We have expressed the desire that from now on, the Iraqis ought to be in a position to resolve on their own the substantial and major problems that Iraq faces," Jean-Claude Juncker said. He added that it is obvious that Japan will be closely associated with the organisation and preparation of the conference on Iraq to be held soon in Brussels under the Luxembourg Presidency.

The EU and Japan also focused on the Year of Exchanges between the peoples of Europe and Japan, taking place in 2005. "We have noted the success of this Year of Exchanges and we would not want these efforts, which are bringing the peoples closer together, to cease at the end of 2005." In this context, the Prime Minister encouraged the connection between the peoples, a "permanent requirement of our actions."

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Last update of this page on : 03-05-2005