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EU, Japan strenthen ties to face COVID-19 crisis

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EU, Japan strenthen ties to face COVID-19 crisis

Michel - von der Leyen - Abe - Photo EU Council

(BRUSSELS) - EU and Japan leaders at a video conference Tuesday signalled close coordination in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, stressing the importance of global solidarity, cooperation and multilateralism.

After the virtual leaders' meeting, Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, Council president Charles Michel and prime minister of Japan Shinzo Abe 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.

"The EU-Japan partnership is strong and vibrant," said M Michel: "We are working shoulder to shoulder to defeat COVID-19. EU & Japan share common values: multilateralism, rule of law, democracy and the belief that global challenges require global answers."

The leaders discussed the need to draw lessons from the current situation in order to prevent future pandemics, and the steps to be taken in this regard. This, they affirmed in their statement, could include looking at ways to reform the World Health Organisation.

Marking the commitment of the EU and Japan to accelerate cooperation on research on health, the two parties signed a Letter of Intent on strengthening cooperation in science, technology and innovation.

This includes collaboration between Japan's Moonshot Research and Development Program and the EU's Horizon Europe Programme.

Ms von der Leyen, Mr Michel and prime minister Abe stressed their determination to ensure a robust economic recovery and rebuild more sustainable, inclusive and resilient economies, in keeping with the Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.

The leaders stressed the need to assist developing countries in their response to the coronavirus, for example through the "Team Europe" support package of over EUR 20 billion.

The leaders also discussed the geopolitical consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and reiterated their commitment to upholding the rules-based international order and to strengthening practical cooperation.

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the EU-Japan strategic partnership, which has been strengthened by the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement and the Economic Partnership Agreement.

Joint press release: Japan-EU Leaders' meeting, 26 May 2020

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