26 April 2022 | REPORT

Editors: Kim Chang-beom, Ramon Pacheco Pardo and Michael Reiterer

Contributors: Ahn Ho-young, Karel De Gucht, Jun Hae-Won, Kim Sung-hwan, Kim Yong-hak and Lee Eun-jeung

The Republic of Korea and the European Union are key strategic partners sharing values, interests, and goals. It is no exaggeration to say that the EU sees South Korea, together with Japan, as its most valued partner in Asia and the Indo-Pacific. However, in these demanding times, there is no time for complacency: South Korea and the EU could and should do more to strengthen bilateral cooperation. 

The time has come to move relations to the next level. The inauguration of new ROK President Yoon Suk-yeol offers the opportunity to build on the successes of previous administrations, both conservative and liberal, and make the South Korea–EU relations a model that other bilateral partnerships could aspire to achieve. 

This report aims at initiating a positive reflection process within the new South Korean government and EU institutions to boost bilateral political, economic, and security cooperation. Korean and European experts with experience in politics, think tanks, and academia make the case in this report for closer South Korea–EU cooperation in analysing common interests. 
By focusing on four areas, South Korea and the EU can strengthen their bilateral relationship, which will in turn offer them the opportunity for wider future collaboration; (1) Green strategic partnership; including green growth, green tech, and sustainable supply chains; (2) Digital cooperation; including resilience against cyber threats, rule and standard setting, and next generation networks; (3) Bilateral FTA modernisation; including digital trade; and (4) Facing together geopolitical challenges from US–China competition in the context of Beijing’s assertiveness, inter-Korean relations, and the need to deal with a Russia that has chosen to confront the existing international order and law.

The report contains a summary of the key points and as well as policy recommendations. Read the full report here. This report was generously sponsored by the Korea Foundation.