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7th EU-Republic of Korea Summit

President Barroso

The 7th EU-Republic of Korea Summit took place in Brussels today. President José Manuel Barroso represented the EU together with the President of the European Council. South Korea was represented by President Park Geun-Hye.

Today's summit marked 50 years of diplomatic relations between the EU and the Republic of Korea. The leaders adopted a joint declaration highlighting past developments in EU- Republic of Korea relations and affirming their willingness to encourage its further development.

Korea was the first G20 country with which the EU concluded a Framework Agreement and a second generation free trade agreement.

"The Free Trade Agreement, now two years old, continues to be a driving force for our cooperation. The European Union is now the largest foreign investor in the Republic Of Korea. And our trade in goods with South Korea has significantly increased", President Barroso said today.

Over the last decade, EU28 exports to South Korea have more than doubled, from 17.7 billion euro in 2002 to a peak of 37.8 bn in 2012, according to Eurostat.

President Barroso highlighted the Republic of Korea's and the EU's common interest to step up cooperation in innovation, science and technology. "We share the same view that prosperity in the long term needs to come from new sources of growth", he said.

The European Commission and the government of the Republic of Korea today signed an agreement to enhance cooperation in higher education. President Barroso explained that "Universities and research institutions in the EU and the Republic of Korea will run more joint degrees and mobility programmes. These measures will further boost student exchanges and joint research over the coming years".

The summit also addressed new areas of cooperation. "Our agreement on global navigation satellite cooperation is nearly fully ratified, allowing this to come on stream shortly", said President Barroso. Cyberspace cooperation, "a crucial ingredient for the creative economy, for individuals and SMEs, to blossom and grow", was discussed as well.

The EU and Korea want to further develop their partnership beyond the bilateral context. Economic recovery, climate change, the new framework for sustainable development in a world post-2015, and regionally based security threats were also on the agenda. On this last issue, President Barroso said "we appreciate Korea's commitment to regional stability, through the East Asia initiative and Korea's 'trust politik' vis à vis its neighbours" and he gave "full support for a safe, secure and denuclearised Korean peninsula".

Read the press statement

Video: press conference

Video: EU-Republic of Korea Summit opening remarks

Eurostat news release

Press release: Seventh EU-Republic of Korea Summit

EU relations with the Republic of Korea

Watch the video