The executive vice president of the European Commission has said the world is facing the “tests of a lifetime” as he urged world leaders to do rather than talk about solutions to these emerging risks.
Speaking in South Korea, Valdis Dombrovskis, (pic) pledged support for South Korea both in its geopolitical issues with North Korea and closer economic ties.
“We are now facing the tests of a lifetime,” he said. “We have just made it through a pandemic. Climate change threatens the future of our planet. And now we seem to be surrounded by cascades of crises wherever we look.
“There full-scale war raging in Europe – on the Eurasian continent that we share. The tragic events unfolding in the Middle East are a deep source of concern and of sorrow. And, unfortunately, they are just the latest addition to a string of unsettling geopolitical shifts. We are confronted with a new reality, and this requires a new mindset. An entirely new approach to geopolitics and global affairs. And it requires – friends.”
He added: “Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine was a watershed moment in global history. Its impact reverberates well beyond Europe’s borders. It has shaken the foundations of an international order that we have known for decades. And the ramifications of the Kremlin’s brazen aggression have caused the world to become more polarised, more conflicted and more fragmented.
“But it has also been a moment that has revealed true friendships. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Republic of Korea, which condemned this war of aggression from the start. “
“But we also know that all security theatres are now linked,” Dombrovskis continued. “What happens in Europe has implications for Korea. But what happens in Korea also has very real repercussions for Europe. We are closely following the Russia-DPRK rapprochement and the possible deal on ammunition/missile/satellite technology.
“So, let me use this opportunity to make one thing very clear. Korea can be assured of the EU’s full solidarity as you face the continued nuclear and missile threat of the DRPK at your doorstep. The unprecedented number of missiles launched by the DPRK over the last two years are a serious threat to international and regional peace and security.
“The DPRK must abandon its weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles and existing nuclear programmes. And it must do so in a comprehensive, verifiable and irreversible manner as required under multiple UN Security Council resolutions.”
Dombrovskis explained that Korea had a key role to play in the future of the world’s economic growth.
“In that context, the Indo-Pacific, is not only a region of geopolitical importance. But it is at the heart of growth of the digital economy,” he said. “It is here that digital trade rules of the 21st century are developed as we speak.”
He revealed the EU has launched negotiations with Korea for a digital trade agreement.
“This is a major step. Not only will it allow us to further develop our bilateral ties. It will also ensure that our two democracies are at the forefront of developing the digital trade rules of the future.” In particular, we will look into a number of important issues that are essential for our businesses, such as data flows, data localisation, consumer protection or e-government.”
On moves to net zero Dombrovskis said the EU and Korea are also aligning and reinforcing their efforts in de-carbonising their economies.
“We both see clearly the threat of the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and pollution that our planet is facing,” he said. “Through our Green Partnership, we will work together to accelerate the transition to climate neutrality. In particular, we will work on the convergence in key areas, and deepen cooperation on strategic, clean energy projects. Because it is good for our supply chains, good for our competitiveness and good for the planet.
“As we move together towards the full decarbonisation of our economies by 2050, it will be crucial to find effective ways to combat climate change with effective policies, At the EU-Korea Summit, our leaders agreed to “intensify our coordination on carbon border measures”.
He ended by saying the world could not afford to wait in its response to the risks its faces.
“Let me conclude with the words of a European you all know very well, Jean Monnet,” Dombrovskis said. “Everybody is ambitious. The question is whether he is ambitious to be or ambitious to do.
“Let us be the latter. Let’s us get all hands on deck and work – together – on the manifold global challenges ahead of us. Let’s be ambitious to do.
“It is the responsibility of my generation to hand over to you a world that is sustainable, liveable and fair.”