"On a journey, ill
My dreams roam
Over a wild moo"
European Union President, Belgian born Herman Van Rompuy has humour, and he loves Japanese poems, the Haiku. He event dared a metaphor yesterday at the press conference ending the summit by adding a poetic note. "The sun is rising - sleeping yet in Europe - still the same sun," to a stunned Yukio Hatoyama.
Herman van Rompuy influenced by Greek Thucydides and Pericles of the school of realpolitik
Mr Van Rompuy, known to some as Haiku Herman, is a passionate writer of haiku, the traditional Japanese form of poetry. The 62-year-old former Belgian prime minister published his first book of haiku, which are composed of three unrhymed lines totaling 17 syllables. It is said he sometimes writes on political themes, but reserved comment Wednesday on the meaning of his latest work narrated in Tokyo...
Looks like the Belgium VIPs stick to cultural interaction, and maybe it's a pretty good idea to create ties with Japanese torrid claim of their genuine fascination for cultures of Europe...
I remember having interviewed for NHK the ex-Belgium ambassador the Baron Nothomb, yes the one who fathered writer Amélie (Fabienne) Nothomb! He was able to sing Noh theatre for hours to the stupefaction of my recording studio colleagues.
The dialogue of/trough/via cultures may be helpful for European Union Council president Herman Van Rompuy who yesterday told Japanese politicians that "Japan and Europe would be stronger in facing the challenges of a changing world if we work together." In other words: the EU asked the student Hatoyama to review his copy prior to launch an integration project.
Telling this to a Japanese prime minister, whose popularity heading down dangerous levels and whose eyes are turned towards the East side of the Pacific a few months prior to the October APEC informal gatherings, was a "fatal gesture" some say, "no, very astute" others counter-attacked.
Where we are now: Van Rompuy agreed with Hatoyama that Japan and the European Union will establish a "high-level group" to discus their economic relations, including the possibility of a free-trade agreement, as EU already signed with South Korea. The will for an integration agreement, EIA, is strongly supported both by the Keidanren, Japan's business lobby, and by European businesses in Japan, although business associations in Europe and big automakers have lobbied against. José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, made clear the EU expected progress on non-tariff barriers and regulatory harmonization before it would start working on a deal. Hatoyama said Japan understands the EU's frustration with non-tariff barriers in Japan, such as the tight regulations on public procurement and product safety screening, which Brussels blames for distorting fair trade.
The party seems tense, look:
EU Japan Summit, April 28, Tokyo
Clear enough. The free trade deal signed between the EU and South Korea last October sparked Japanese interest in a similar agreement. "Currently the EU impose 10 percent tariff duties on imports of vehicles and 14 percent on electronics, but South Korean companies such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai Motor will be eventually exempt from those tariffs.
I remember the EBC, the European Business Council in Japan, called for several years, towards such agreement under former president Richard Collasse, and for current president Tommy Kullberg, "the 2010 EU-Japan summit is an "unmissable opportunity" to start work toward an EIA. "Nothing will change if we don't have binding discussions."
The working group could take six to 12 months to review the progress that Japan and the EU have made to ensure free and open trade, Hatoyama said, adding he believes the two sides will be able to secure an FTA in the future. Van Rompuy called for strong "political will" to deepen the bilateral economic relationship, saying the high-level group must not work "in a bureaucratic way."
According to the European think-tank Copenhagen Economics, the combination of both elimination of tariffs and the reduction of non-tariff measures would increase "economic welfare" by €33bn a year in the EU and €18bn in Japan.
The EU delegation flew to China for a EU China summit in Shanghai, where the World Expo is to open there on Saturday. Maybe Mr Van Rompuy is to claim some Confucius thoughts and verses to the Chinese leadership?
Sources: Reporters' notes
✍✍✍ Et en Français, langue chère au président du Conseil de l'Union Européenne: "Herman Van Rompuy, a estimé mercredi que le temps n'était pas venu de signer un accord de libre-échange avec le Japon, en raison notamment des barrières non tarifaires qui entravent encore l'accès au marché japonais. "Il est bien sûr évident que le moyen d'intensifier les échanges entre nos deux blocs serait d'avoir un accord de libre-échange", a-t-il dit lors d'une conférence de presse à Tokyo avant un sommet UE-Japon. "Beaucoup de barrières non tarifaires restent en place, ce qui entrave l'accès au marché japonais et fait hésiter l'UE à aller plus avant", a cependant souligné M. Van Rompuy, ajoutant: "Nous pourrions peut-être prendre un peu plus de temps pour identifier d'abord les objectifs que les deux parties veulent atteindre". Le Japon souhaiterait abolir les taxes à l'entrée sur le marché européen pour les automobiles et les téléviseurs à écran plat. L'UE réclame de son côté que le Japon assouplisse ses critères de sécurité pour les automobiles européennes et accélère le processus de vérification des équipements médicaux en particulier. Présents lors du sommet UE-Japon mercredi, en présence de M. Van Rompuy et du Premier ministre japonais Yukio Hatoyama: son ministre des Affaires étrangères, Katsuya Okada, la chef de la diplomatie européenne, Catherine Ashton, et le président de la Commission Européenne, Jose Manuel Barroso."