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Korea, Europe to start parliamentary forum

The National Assembly and the European Parliament will launch an annual bilateral forum to strengthen ties and cooperation as the Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement comes into effect in July.

The annual “ROK-EU Leaders Forum” will be hosted alternately by both sides. ROK is the abbreviation of the Republic of Korea.

A preparatory meeting to launch the forum was held at the 63 City building in Seoul on Friday, the East Asia Foundation said. In the meeting, lawmaker Lee Kang-rae, president of the National Assembly’s ROK-EU Parliamentarian Diplomacy Council, and Christian Ehler, president of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the Korean Peninsula, signed a pact to launch the forum.

The forum is expected to become a new communication channel to strengthen strategic partnership between Korea and the EU, officials of the foundation said. It will deal with political, economic, social and cultural issues.
Lee Kang-rae, Christian Ehler
Lee Kang-rae, Christian Ehler

The ROK-EU Leaders Forum will involve members of the National Assembly and European Parliament, scholars, industry figures, policy experts, government officials and other opinion leaders.

The first forum will be hosted by Korea in October, when the European Parliament’s Delegation of Relations with the Korean Peninsula visits Seoul.

The second forum will be held next year, when the ROK-EU Parliamentarian Diplomacy Council pays a reciprocal visit to Europe.

Participants in the preparatory meeting included National Assembly Vice Speaker Hong Jae-hyong, European Parliament Vice President Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, ROK-EU Parliamentarian Diplomacy Council Vice President Oh Jae-sae, Ambassador Tomasz Kozlowski who is head of the EU delegation to Korea, and East Asia Foundation chairman Gong Ro-myung.

In the meeting, both sides discussed matters on forum operations and set three main topics.

The three titles are: Learning from European Experiences: Future of the Regional Integration in East Asia; ROK-EU FTA and Framework Agreement: Assessing Their Impact; and Visualizing the Strategic Partnership between EU and ROK: Cultivating New Networks and Setting Agenda for Actions.

Participants also decided to get think-tanks from both sides to organize the forum. The first forum in Seoul will be organized by the East Asia Foundation, while the European Parliament will decide on the counterpart for the second forum soon.

The ROK-EU Parliamentarian Diplomacy Council has 28 members. It operates joint sessions with its counterpart, the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the Korean Peninsula.

The council also holds joint meetings every year on a regular basis. The European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the Korean Peninsula consists of 24 members.

By Chun Sung-woo (swchun@heraldcorp.com)
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