The EU-Japan connectivity partnership: a sustainable initiative awaiting materialisation

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Series Details Number 12, Pages 8
Publication Date 04/02/2020
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Amid looming challenges derived from growing US unilateralism and Chinese assertiveness, the EU and Japan have repeatedly displayed their commitment to support an eroded rules-based multilateral order. Embodying ‘like-minded’ countries’ cooperation, both benefit from an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) since early 2019. More recently, they have endorsed a Partnership on Sustainable Connectivity and Quality Infrastructure (hereafter the ‘EU-Japan Partnership on connectivity’ or ‘EU-Japan Partnership’) outlining a rather late but consolidated response to the global demand for connectivity, an acute understanding of its strategic implications and an alternative to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Building on existing and convergent strategies, the EU-Japan Partnership on connectivity revolves around the guidelines of sustainability, high level of socio-economic and environmental standards and a level-playing field. Doing so, they address the current shortfalls of the BRI, including lack of transparency, the massive use of tied financing and uncertain financial and climate sustainability. It will be now a matter of implementation, requiring a significant financial engagement as well as an efficient coordination between the two partners, and beyond, with the private sector, other like-minded countries and, it is to be hoped, China. Achieving these conditions would be necessary to deliver the positive prospects of the EU-Japan Partnership and ensuring a significant contribution and leadership within the international order.

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ESO Records
EU-Japan Summit, 25 April 2019

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