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José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Remarks following the EU-Japan Summit

EU-Japan Summit

Brussels, 28 May 2011

Prime Minister,

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me make a few specific points, after this very successful and fruitful EU-Japan Summit.

President Van Rompuy and I expressed our deep sympathy and admiration for the Japanese people's courage and resilience in the aftermath of the terrible events of 11 March.

But today was not only the Summit of “Kizuna”, of friendship, but also the Summit of "Shinrai", of trust.

We firmly believe that Japan is safe and open for business. I am sure that with the efforts of the government, Japan will come back even stronger than before.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is the right time to move towards upgrading our political and economic partnership in a comprehensive way, to the benefit of our people.

In particular, the EU feels that under the right conditions a Free Trade Agreement  - together with a comprehensive parallel agreement on political and sectoral issues - would be in the strategic interests of both the EU and Japan. And it would also be very important for the global economy.

Today, Japan and the EU decided to launch the process towards such a FTA.

Both sides want such an agreement to be substantial and meaningful, and to tackle all the real issues that affect trade between us.

So, I am pleased that we have agreed to move ahead on this basis. And I am very grateful for the leadership and commitment expressed by Prime Minister Kan today.

I am convinced that an ambitious, comprehensive agreement, that tackles all the barriers - ranging from procurement and investment barriers to tariffs and non-tariff measures - would give opportunities for trade and business on both sides, and release untapped potential in our economic relationship.

To achieve this, we have agreed to seek mandates for negotiations and in parallel to conduct a scoping exercise to define the contours of the agreement. We will start the scoping exercise straight away.

Today, our bilateral trade is already worth €110 billion a year. But we know that there is big potential which remains untapped for business on both sides. An agreement will provide the means to unleash that potential. It also shows our shared commitment to open trade.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me also touch upon the key issues of energy cooperation and nuclear safety

Radiation does not stop at borders; and neither should our collective responsibility. So when we talk nuclear, we talk global!

We are just back from the G8 Summit in Deauville, where we and our G8 colleagues decided to promote the highest levels of nuclear safety around the globe, notably through the strengthening of the International Convention on Nuclear Safety under the IAEA.

This should include comprehensive and ambitious stress tests of nuclear plants. The EU has moved first to adopt the most stringent safety standards in the world and proposed stress tests for all our power plants, which will be implemented as of 1 June. We want these stress tests to go beyond Europe. I am pleased that the G8 endorsed this global approach. Clearly, we cannot compromise on nuclear safety.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You see that we are working hard on an ambitious bilateral and global agenda.

I would like to thank His Excellency Prime Minister Kan for his leadership. I look forward to continuing our cooperation to deepen the strategic EU-Japan partnership.

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