EU, Japan reinforce cooperation to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic

The vaccine that will be developed should become a global common good, leaders said

Photo: EU On 26 May the EU-Japan leaders' meeting took place via video conference.

Two important messages voiced European Council President Charles Michel at a news conference, he gave after the EU-Japan virtual leaders’ meeting on Tuesday. Saying that it was very productive discussion, he underscored that the partnership between EU and Japan is very “strong and vibrant” and the two sides are working hard together in order to face the Covid-19 crisis.

The video conference meeting of EC President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe addressed matters related to the coronavirus pandemic, preparations for the upcoming G7 summit, and the implementation of the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership, among others pressing issues.

With conviction that global challenges require global answers, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to global collaboration and sustained funding for developing and deploying effective antiviral medicines, diagnostics, treatments and vaccines in order to make them available to all at an affordable price. They called for the future Covid-19 vaccine to become a global common good and welcomed the successful pledging initiative of "the Global Coronavirus Response" that started on May 4, and the Japan’s generous contribution to it.

Also concerning Covid-19 crisis, the leaders emphasised the importance of strengthening the preparedness and response capacities, and of improving international response including through relevant international organisations, such as the WHO, drawing on lessons learned from the current global responses. They reaffirmed the role of the WHO in coordinating the fight against the new pandemic and considered it will be important to make an evaluation to review experience gained and lessons learnt from the WHO-coordinated international health response to Covid-19.

Another important point raised at the video conference is the mobilisation of Japan and the EU in the international stage in terms of a solid, ambitious, quick strategy for a global economic recovery. They are promoting global coordination in various international fora such as the G7, that will be held in few weeks, G20, and the United Nations system, and assisting vulnerable countries and communities in need.

Japan and the EU will cooperate to facilitate the flow of medical supplies, agricultural products, raw materials and other goods and services across borders, while ensuring that any necessary emergency measures designed to tackle Covid-19 are targeted, proportionate, transparent, temporary, and consistent with WTO rules so that they do not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains. They called for refraining from unnecessary travel and export restrictions.

During the video conference, both sides also stressed that the links between the EU and Japan are very significant in economic terms, accounting for one third of global trade. With Japan, we have the largest open trade zone in the world, connecting over 600 million people, EUCO President Michel pointed out.

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Japan-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement and Economic Partnership Agreement, saying that it will play an important role in recovering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and in tackling other common challenges that have not diminished

Von der Leyen, Michel and Abe stressed as well that they are looking forward to holding a Summit Meeting in the near future when conditions allow in order to take cooperation between Japan and the EU further in the areas such as connectivity, global environmental issues and challenges, climate change. Digital transformation, research and innovation, health, energy, free, fair and rules-based trade, and security and defence, transport and urban policy are also on their list and the leaders confirmed that preparatory work in all these fields should advance.


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