Joint Press Statement, 8th Republic of Korea-EU Summit. Seoul, 15 September 2015

1. The Eighth Summit between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the European Union (EU) took place in Seoul on September 15, 2015. The ROK was represented by President Park Geun-hye and the EU was represented by Mr. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council and Commissioner Cecilia Malmström representing the President of the European Commission. 


2. The Leaders expressed their satisfaction with the progress the strategic partnership has made since 2010 and with specific cooperation since the Seventh Summit in 2013. The ROK and the EU agreed to continue to invest in these comprehensive, mutually beneficial and future-oriented relations.

3. The Leaders noted that the ROK is the EU’s first and only partner that has signed all the three fundamental bilateral agreements with the EU. They welcomed that the Framework Agreement officially entered into force in June 2014 and also looked forward to the Free Trade Agreement fully entering into force at the earliest date, if possible within this year, with the completion of the ratification process. The Leaders looked forward to the completion of the ratification of the Framework Participation Agreement establishing a framework for joint crisis management operations. In this respect, the EU welcomed the intention of the ROK   to join the EU’s counter-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden of Somalia in the EU Atalanta operation with the understanding that the ROK will require the National Assembly’s consent to this end.

4. The leaders welcomed the expansion of cooperation on regional and global political and security issues between the ROK and the EU and highlighted the frequent exchanges between the ROK Foreign Minister and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

5. The Leaders noted that July 1, 2015 marked the fourth anniversary of the entry into force of the ambitious ROK-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which contributed to an expansion of bilateral trade. The Leaders agreed that the full implementation of the FTA and increase in trade volume  between the ROK and the EU is important, in order to bring the expected benefits to both sides in a balanced way. In this respect, the Leaders encouraged their trade officials to produce tangible outcomes on the FTA implementation issues. With a common understanding on the importance of distributing the benefits of the FTA to both sides and contributing to sustainable development, the Leaders committed to ensuring the FTA serves the best interests of Korea and the EU in a mutually beneficial and forward-looking manner.

6. The Leaders acknowledged that investment is the key to create jobs and growth. Noting that the EU is the top foreign investor in the ROK and the Korean investment flows into the EU has also increased, the Leaders agreed to further promote bilateral investment. Considering that the FTA does not include provisions on investment protection, both sides agreed to explore ways to improve investment norms, while continuing discussion on other FTA improvements.

7. Both sides confirmed their interest in encouraging mutual opportunities for investment, including the Investment Plan for Europe and EU investment into the ROK. The Leaders welcomed the expanding business to business links between the EU and the ROK that are boosting and facilitating trade and investment opportunities.

8. The Leaders welcomed the substantial progress made in the ROK-EU cooperation on research and innovation and the creative economy, including the outcome of the 5th Joint Science & Technology Cooperation Committee in June 2015 where it was agreed to continue improving the framework conditions and to deepen and scale-up the ongoing cooperation in the selected thematic areas of nanotechnology, nanoelectronics, information communication technology (ICT), health and biomedical challenges, energy, and satellite navigation and to promote researcher’s mobility. They looked forward to the upcoming launch of joint research and innovation projects in the area of next generation mobile telecommunications networks (5G) and Internet of Things and Cloud Computing under the 2016-2017 Horizon 2020 Work Programme and the prospects for related cooperation on 5G standards and spectrum allocation. They welcomed the agreement to engage in a twinning collaboration on carbon capture technologies and processes. The Leaders also recognised that since the ROK became a member of the Eurostars-2 Program in 2014, cooperation between SMEs of both sides has contributed to further joint research and technological development. They further shared the view that this cooperation should be continued to promote SMEs’ technological competitiveness and encourage entry into third markets.

9. The Leaders agreed that the High-level Industry Policy Dialogue (IPD) should continue to act as a framework to strengthen cooperation in the area of industrial policy, facilitating bilateral discussion on ways to enhance industrial competitiveness, entrepreneurship, innovation, and support for SMEs of both sides.  The Leaders agreed that following the first IPD in Brussels on September 2014, the second IPD will be held in Seoul at the earliest possible date. The Leaders shared the view that both sides should cooperate to promote energy security and increase energy efficiency in various fields such as electricity, gas, and renewable energy.

10. The Leaders, with satisfaction, noted the progress made by the ROK in the prevention, deterrence and elimination of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing through the establishment of a robust IUU control system. This progress was made possible with the strong commitment of the Korean government to the fight against IUU fishing and the close cooperation between the ROK and the EU. The parties may further establish and consolidate a technical working group, possibly followed by a Joint Statement. The Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to taking the bilateral cooperation to the next level, going beyond IUU-related issues, with a view to closer cooperation on oceans policies and strengthening global ocean governance including sustainable use of ocean resources, climate change, and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

11. The Leaders welcomed the progress made in the field of competition policy cooperation. The main forum for cooperation is the bilateral meeting held between the Chairman of the Korea Fair Trade Commission and the European Commissioner for Competition Policy based on the Cooperation Agreement on Anti-competitive Activities signed in 2009 and the Competition chapter in the Korea-EU FTA. Both sides shared the view that there is a continued need for enhanced cooperation to protect international trade from global anti-competitive practices.

12. The Leaders emphasized the importance of ensuring the openness and security of cyberspace for it to continue being a driving force for the freedom, prosperity and economic growth of mankind. They agreed to increase bilateral cooperation on cyberspace as well as to strengthen the global partnership in response to threats arising from cyberspace. They welcomed the two rounds of the ROK-EU Cyber Policy Consultation as a useful platform for sharing views and information on cyber issues and agreed to explore ways to enhance cooperation including between Korea Computer Emergency Response Team (Kr-CERT) and EU Computer Emergency Response Team (EU-CERT).

13. The Leaders noted with satisfaction that bilateral exchange and cooperation in the fields of culture and education have been expanding. Sharing the view that strengthening the communication between the peoples of the ROK and the EU contributes to deepening and developing bilateral relations, the Leaders agreed to cooperate closely in supporting networks among their cultural and creative industries and promoting people-to-people exchange in the field of education and youth, in particular through the Erasmus+ programme.


14. The Leaders strongly condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s continued development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, including its plutonium and uranium enrichment program and ballistic missile launches, and called on the DPRK to cease all related activities immediately as required by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Reaffirming that the DPRK cannot have the status of a nuclear-weapon state, the Leaders strongly urged the DPRK to abandon all its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner and return, at an early date, to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and join the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).  They called on the DPRK to fully comply with its obligations under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and to refrain from any further provocation. The Leaders reaffirmed their firm support for the Six-Party Talks and urged the DPRK to respond to diplomatic efforts aimed at creating favorable conditions for their resumption and take concrete steps to honor its commitments under the 19 September 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks.

15. The Leaders shared the international community’s grave concern over the human rights’ situation in the DPRK as documented in last year’s UN Commission of Inquiry report, and urged the DPRK to fully implement the recommendations of the report to improve its human rights’ situation. The Leaders agreed to remain dedicated to working with the international community to improve the human rights situation in the DPRK, and urge the DPRK to cooperate with relevant UN mechanisms. The Leaders reaffirmed the need to ensure that the safety and well-being of the refugees and asylum seekers be guaranteed in full compliance of international law, including the principle of non-refoulement.

16. Underlining that enhanced relations between the two Koreas with the perspective of peaceful reunification would contribute greatly to the peace and prosperity not only on the Korean Peninsula, but also in the world, the Leaders agreed on the need for dialogue and cooperation. The EU appreciated the ROK government’s endeavours and offers of dialogue towards unification. In this regard, the EU supported the peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula based on the improvement of inter-Korean relations while reaffirming its support for the ROK’s Trust-Building Process on the Korean Peninsula. The ROK appreciated the EU policy of critical engagement towards the DPRK.

17. The Leaders discussed the security situation in East Asia and highlighted that regional cooperation needs to be strengthened in order to build trust, which would serve as the foundation for prosperity and stability in the region and beyond. In this regard, the EU reaffirmed its continued support for the multilateral process promoted by the ROK’s Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative (NAPCI). President Park appreciated that the EU has made indispensable contributions to developing NAPCI by sharing its experience on regional multilateral cooperation in particular during the ROK-EU Joint Seminars in Seoul in 2014 and in Brussels in 2015. The EU Leader expressed support for the active role of the ROK as the chair country in leading the trilateral cooperation among the ROK, Japan and China and welcomed the ROK’s hosting of the 6th ROK-Japan-China Trilateral Summit in the near future.

18. The Leaders underscored the important role of ASEM as a platform for political dialogue, economic cooperation and cultural and social exchanges between Asia and Europe and reaffirmed their commitment to seeking a new impetus for the ASEM process in the lead up to ASEM’s 20th Anniversary in 2016. The Leaders agreed that ASEM should continue carrying out tangible and result-oriented activities that would serve the interests of people in both regions and increase ASEM’s relevance. In this regard, they looked forward to the work of the ASEM Foreign Ministers and the Senior Officials on drawing up concrete recommendations for the future direction of ASEM to be submitted at the next Summit in 2016.

President Park also acknowledged the value of the EU’s aspiration to participate in the East Asia Summit.

19. The Leaders also emphasized the importance of forging stronger physical, digital, cultural, educational and people-to-people links between Asia and Europe as exemplified by the Trans-Eurasia Information Network and resolved to further enhance the connectivity between the two regions. Both parties expressed their support for the initiatives on inter-connectivity taken to realize the vision and goals laid out in the 10th ASEM Summit’s Chair Statement including the “Eurasia Initiative” presented by President Park.

20. The Leaders expressed their concern about the escalation of fighting in eastern Ukraine. Both sides stressed that resolution of the situation in eastern regions of Ukraine can only be achieved through a peaceful settlement and called on all sides to engage in meaningful dialogue to resolve the crisis. In this context the ROK and the EU agreed that the Minsk agreements must be swiftly and fully implemented. They reiterated the need for full respect for international law, especially respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. The Leaders agreed that adherence to the United Nations Charter is of paramount importance in maintaining international peace and security. Leaders also pledged to explore new opportunities for cooperation aimed at the modernization of Ukraine and other eastern European countries, as well as in the Western Balkans and Black Sea region.

21. The leaders expressed deep concerns with the instability and dire humanitarian situation in several Middle Eastern countries sharing the view that finding a political solution is of critical importance in ending conflicts that have caused so much human suffering and destruction and securing long-term peace and stability in the region. They also evaluated that the emergence of violent extremists and terrorist groups has aggravated the instability in the Middle East, and emphasized the necessity of the international community’s continued efforts to counter them.

22. Leaders welcomed the bilateral policy consultations on the Middle East and North Africa between the ROK and the EU and the first ROK-EU International Conference on Middle Eastern and North African Affairs in Seoul in March 2015. These consultations deepen the mutual understanding on the region, and are the basis for an ever closer cooperation of the two sides on issues of international security and stability, development assistance and cooperation in international fora dealing inter alia with the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and countering the threats of terrorism and extremism.

23. The Leaders shared the view that violent extremism and terrorism not only threaten global peace and security but also severely undermine the shared values of humanity such as human dignity and respect for diversity. In this respect, they highly appreciated the international community’s active responses to these threats including the adoption of UNSC Resolution 2178, and agreed to join these efforts by implementing UNSC resolutions and strengthening cooperation at various levels. They also emphasized the importance of the international community’s efforts to address the factors conducive to violent extremism and radicalization, including by countering extreme messages, and stressed the importance of sustainable political solutions. An inclusive political transition in Syria and inclusive political governance in Iraq are crucial to sustainable peace and stability in the region. Both sides strongly support the efforts by the United Nations in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq.


24. Recognizing the G20’s crucial role in achieving strong, sustainable and balanced growth, the Leaders agreed to continue to cooperate closely at the G20 level. The Leaders shared the view that it is necessary to strengthen economic policy cooperation in the G20 to respond to the risks to the global economy and expressed support for the ongoing efforts by the ROK and the EU for structural reforms.

25. Reaffirming the important role of trade as an engine of economic growth and job creation, the Leaders stressed that the G20 needs to exercise leadership in strengthening the Multilateral Trading System. In this regard, they shared the view that the G20 needs to send a strong political message at the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi (15-18 December 2015) in view of promoting employment and growth worldwide.  They also agreed to work closely together to produce realistic outcomes on all areas of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) at the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi. Ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement and finalising the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), including agreement on staging period should be part of the outcome. Both sides will work together to reach ambitious, balanced and environmentally credible outcome to the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA).

26. With regard to climate change, the Leaders confirmed their resolve to play their part in concluding at COP21 a global, internationally legally binding Agreement applicable to all Parties that will put the world on track to limiting the increase in global average temperature to 2℃ above pre-industrial levels. They are committed to work together and with other countries towards an Agreement that would be ambitious, effective, durable, flexible and inclusive, and spur cooperative action for the transformation to a low-carbon economy. The Agreement must include adequate provisions on the transparency and accountability of all Parties towards their commitments and reflect the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in light of different national circumstances. It must also address adaptation to climate change and climate finance, in particular through the Green Climate Fund (GCF).  The leaders also affirmed their ambition to make the GCF fully operational in 2015 and the main operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Post-2020 climate regime. The EU will explore the possibility of cooperating with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).

27. The Leaders emphasized the importance of accelerating the implementation of climate action between now and 2020 and confirmed that they would continue to look for further pre-2020 mitigation opportunities. Looking beyond 2020, they commended those Parties that have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the new Agreement. They welcomed particularly the voluntary contributions from the Least-Developed Countries. They called on all others, particularly on major and emerging economies, to urgently submit their INDCs in a way to facilitate clarity, transparency and understanding. The Leaders committed to strengthening bilateral cooperation on climate action and welcomed the bilateral technical cooperation project to be launched in 2016 under the EU Partnership Instrument concerning the Emission Trading Scheme in Korea. They also committed to working together ever closer in international forums relevant to climate change other than the UNFCCC.

28. The Leaders agreed on the need to take measures promoting a transition into a more “Circular Economy” that preserves the added value of materials and energy in the economic cycle for as long as possible and avoids waste. In this context, they noted the 19th Eco-Innovation Forum which will be held in October in Seoul.

29. The Leaders looked forward to the successful adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They agreed that the EU and the ROK should work together closely in agreeing and implementing an ambitious agenda, reinforcing the international community’s commitment to poverty eradication and sustainable development, with the Sustainable Development Goals and targets at the core. They reaffirmed the importance of promoting development effectiveness in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and agreed to make further efforts to advance the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.  The Leaders agreed that their development policies and measures should be in line with the 2030 Agenda. They also agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation on development issues through the ROK-EU Policy Consultation on Development.

30. The Leaders agreed that promotion and protection of human rights is crucial to maintain peace and security and achieve sustainable development. They shared the view that complex crises and attempts to shrink the space for civil society around the world required attention and joint efforts. In this context, they committed to further enhance cooperation in the field of human rights. They noted with satisfaction the rich exchange of views through the ROK-EU Consultations on Human Rights with a particular focus on cooperation in multilateral forums.

31. The Leaders appreciated the broad convergence of views between the ROK and the EU on non-proliferation and disarmament issues. They looked forward to working constructively on, inter alia, the effective implementation and universalization  of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and  Arms Trade Treaty (ATT); the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC); the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC); the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); the establishment of the International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities (ICOC); as well as the next Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), along with the nuclear security issues in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

32. The Leaders welcomed the agreement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue, reached between the E3/EU+3 and Iran, facilitated by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy, in Vienna on July 14, and the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015) endorsing the JCPOA. President Park commended the diplomatic efforts and political will demonstrated by the E3/EU+3 and Iran in the course of the negotiations. They also welcomed the agreement between Iran and the IAEA on the Roadmap for the Clarification of Past and Present Outstanding Issues regarding Iran’s Nuclear Program. The Leaders shared the view that the faithful implementation of the JCPOA by Iran and the international community will contribute to strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and promoting peace and stability in the Middle East. They expressed their willingness to provide support and cooperate for the full implementation of the agreement.