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Notes of the President of the Czech Republic for the EU – Japan Summit

English Pages, 4. 5. 2009

1. Opening Remarks 

Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, ladies and gentlemen, let me welcome all of you in Prague at the EU-Japan 2009 summit. The Czech Republic is honored having you here. The possibility to lead and organize serious and comprehensive dialogue with you at a time of many important changes and challenges is a real pleasure for us. 

I would like to start with saying that the relations between the European Union and Japan have continued positively and progressively over the recent years. We should say it loudly. We are looking forward to further progress in the same direction since we are convinced that, in today’s rather complicated world, a partnership between Japan and the European Union is a key for the stability and prosperity not only of Japan and the EU but of the whole world. I am sure we both feel our responsibility.

During our today’s meeting, we will touch upon several issues where more progress and more mutual understanding is needed. I am convinced that our frank and trustful dialogue will help us to achieve it.  

2.  EU - Japan relations 

Mr. Prime Minister, it is our strong conviction that co-operation and political dialogue between EU and Japan have been very productive in many fields in the last years, and that they have further positively developed as a result of a strong impetus coming from the EU-Japan Summit in Tokyo in April 2008. We appreciate that this trend continues under the leadership of the current Japanese Cabinet and of you, personally, Mr. Prime Minister.

Our collaboration in many fields has been successful, but we have to go ahead. There is a big potential in this respect and we are interested and motivated in making use of it. 

First, the strength and visibility of our political partnership should be enhanced, which will be hopefully, at least partly, achieved by the Summit itself. I hope the message will be seen and heard.

Second, we have justified reasons to be satisfied with the implementation of the EU-Japan Action Plan. Apart from the objective of promoting peace and security, this also applies to reinforcing our economic and trade partnership, to coping with global and societal challenges, to engaging in people-to-people and cultural dialogue. Today, we will indicate together our intention to begin reflections on the revision of the Action Plan, due to expire in 2011.

I would like to ask President Barroso to say a few words now about some of the issues, if he wants to.

3. Global economic and financial crisis 

Mr. Prime Minister, the consequences of the global financial crisis on the real economy - output, income, export, employment - are visible and heavy on both sides, in the EU as well as in Japan. I am sure we all know the relevant data. I appreciate your emphasis on moving from state-led growth to private economy led growth and on the creation of a “competitive environment”.

The EU is basically satisfied with the results of the G20 Summit in London, and is grateful to Japan for the active and constructive role it played in its preparations as well as at the meeting itself. We are confident that Japan will continue to play an important role in the preparations of the next G20 Summit and in fulfilling the G20 agreements and roadmaps. Japan also has an important role to play in the context of the G8 Summit in July at which the economic and financial crisis will also be addressed.

The massive government interventions in the field of fiscal policy all over the world have not yet made a significant change. We should be aware of that. The interventions by central banks, including the Bank of Japan and the ECB, have helped reduce the risks of global deflation and of a complete shut-down of interbank markets. However, the financial markets are still very fragile and extremely reluctant to move. It will take a long time to recover and regain confidence. 

The EU is concerned by the sharp rise in indebtedness of many countries and by its effects on the availability of credit, on the interest rate spreads, on crowding-out of private investment and entrepreneurship, and on more difficult financing conditions especially for the developing world.

Mr. Prime Minister mentioned global imbalances. As far as exchange rates are concerned, the EU does not see a problem with the yen or the euro but is of the opinion that a gradual strengthening of the value of the Chinese currency against other major currencies could help stabilise world markets, contribute to more balanced world trade and to a long-term equilibrium on foreign exchange markets. It would be interesting to hear Japan's view on the Chinese exchange rate.

EU remains fully committed to the Doha Development Agenda and wants to see it concluded as early as possible. It remains a central priority of the EU's trade policy, and the EU will continue to work in order to achieve the necessary agreement in all main issues.

4.  UN Reform 

The European Union stands for years and decades at the forefront of the efforts to strengthen the United Nation’s capacity to deliver an effective international response to global challenges. 

The EU recognises the need to reform the main UN bodies, among them the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the Security Council, with a view to enhancing the representativeness, transparency and efficiency of the system. The EU, however, does not have a position on the modalities for such a reform, although it welcomes any advance in this area which contributes to the objectives mentioned.

We are interested in changing the current methodology of financial contributions of individual countries to better reflect their capacity to pay. The new model should be fairer and the impact of the distorting elements reduced. We should work together towards a model where the emerging economies pay their share. [EU27 pay  39.45%  where its share of world income is 30.5%]

5. East Asia 

Just for your information, we are preparing the EU-China summit which will take place here in Prague on 20 May. We are looking forward to it and hope to move ahead. We are fully aware of the role China plays in today’s world. We are as well planning the EU-Korea summit at the end of May 2009.

Speaking about China, we are aware of China’s role in the current financial and economic crisis and hope for potential cooperation on many issues, including climate change, but are not happy with the human rights issue.

The EU follows a One China Policy. We thus basically oppose Taiwan’s membership in organisations which require sovereignty. However, we do support efforts to find pragmatic solutions that will enable Taiwan to “meaningfully” participate.

A historic development has been the invitation of Taiwan to the World Health Organization session starting on 18 May 2009. Taiwan has been invited as an observer under the name of "Chinese Taipei". The EU is currently working on a Presidency declaration on behalf of the EU, welcoming this development.

At the European Council of December 2004, EU recognised willingness to move as regards lifting arms embargo towards China. There is, however, no new development to report on this matter. We will, nevertheless, not forget the criteria for Member States to authorise export of arms with relation to human rights, to stability and security in the region, and to national security of friends and allies.

The EU is seriously concerned over the recent decision by North Korea to withdraw from the Six-Party Talks, to cease cooperation with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and to restore its nuclear facilities. We called on the government in Pyongyang to reverse its decision to expel IAEA inspectors as well as the decision to restore the nuclear facilities which have been disabled. The EU continues to support the Six-Party Talks as the best available way for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. Our ultimate objective remains dismantling all North Korean nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.

6. Middle East Peace Process

The EU is permanently and consistently involved in the Middle East. The Middle East is still in unclear and transitional period but the way forward appears to be on the horizon. We are cautiously optimistic.

We agree that it is fair to grant the new Israeli government the right of the first 100 days. We believe the Prime Minister Netanyahu knows well that he has to arrive well prepared to the White House soon. He also knows what we expect from him. 

We, as the United States, support a two-state solution, we oppose settlement activities and call for opening of Gaza crossings. 

The situation inside Palestine is not very clear or very convincing. Whether the Palestinians can achieve agreements on the government/administration issue remains to be seen. 

Funding of the Palestinian Authority is important. We see an apparent lack of support from Arab countries in this respect. PM Fayyad made it clear he might not be able to pay salaries in May for the first time since he became PM. I would like to ask you, Mr. Prime Minister, could  Japan consider contributing to this effort?

As regards Gaza, one cannot be surprised that the "tunnel-economy" is flourishing again given the tight Israeli regime on what can enter into Gaza legally (no construction material, limited number of trucks, no cash transfers). We are also concerned about continuing settlement activity, about house demolitions and in particular about plans and practices in East Jerusalem. 

Against this background it was positive that the recent Arab Summit confirmed the Arab Peace Initiative. 

Floor to Mr. Solana and then to Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner, I would like to stress the importance of our support to Palestinian security capabilities.  

Václav Klaus, EU-Japan Summit, Prague Castle,
May 4th, 2009


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