Ambassador Dr. Michael Reiterer gave his lecture at the Faculty of Economics
August 27, 2019
Dr. M. Reiterer, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Korea and Adjunct professor for international politics/University of Innsbruck explained the origins of the EU after World War II, put it into the context of new challenges seventy years later and demonstrated in citing many examples that the EU will continue to play an important role in international politics, despite the rise of new powers which will mark only a relative decline in the power of the EU. The EU as the largest trader and investor and second largest economy realises together with Japan 28% of world GDP. Therefore, linked by two state-of-the-art agreements, the Economic Partnership Agreement and the Strategic Partnership Agreement, the EU and Japan are destined to work together, based on shared interest, a high overlap of values and intertwined economies necessitating cooperation also in the area of security whether traditional or non-traditional (cyber, disaster protection, hybrid threats...). However, relationships are based on people, therefore the Connectivity Strategy, providing the necessary infrastructure, is important. The Erasmus and Erasmus Plus scholarship program, supported by the Jean Monnet professors (like Prof. Kubo) and Centers of Excellence are important pillars of the EU foreign policy. In exercising soft power the EU is the largest contributor to the UN budget, defends the rules and law based international order as a champion of multilateralism, is in the forefront of fighting climate change, which inspires young people like Greta Thunberg to mobilise the next generation. Standard setting is another feature of soft power, the extension of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) the EU's data protection benchmark in which Japan participates. The 2012 Peace Nobel Prize recognised the EU's contribution to world peace in extending the sphere of peace and prosperity to the new states in Eastern Europe which joined the EU primarily in 2005. Working for peace also means investing in security: the combined defense budgets of the Member States makes them the second largest spender after the US and before China. In six military missions and ten civil missions world-wide the EU leads and does not only the talks but also the walk. The anti-piracy operation ATLANTA off the coast of Somalia is of particular importance for Asia and thereby Japan as it keeps the sea-lanes open and secure for trade.