EU and South Korea strengthen digital cooperation

At the Second Digital Partnership Council held in Brussels, the Republic of Korea and the EU reasserted their cooperation in key digital technologies for the well-being of their citizens and the economy.

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On 26 March, the EU and the Republic of Korea held the second Digital Partnership Council in Brussels. The Council was co-chaired by Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, and by South Korean Minister for Science and Information and Communication Technology, Dr Lee Jong-Ho.

The EU and South Korea have pledged to strengthen their continued cooperation in key technologies such as semiconductors, quantum computing, 5G, AI and cybersecurity. They have also added a list of new key areas for collaboration, such as network connectivity.

The parties have also agreed to share important information on cybersecurity trends, best practices for SME digitalisation and ICT standardisation. To ensure the implementation of the joint ventures, negotiations to include the country in the EU Horizon program for funding and research have also been successfully finalised.

The Second Digital Partnership Council stressed the need for innovation cooperation and the exchange of information on semiconductors and their supply chains between the two partners and, launched the Joint EU-Republic of Korea Semiconductors Researchers Forum for researchers from both regions. A call for research proposals in Radio Access Networks and 6G technology has also been issued. Both partners, sharing a common vision of a fair, safe and secure internet, further aim to pursue the same through the implementation of the Declaration for the Future of Internet and the European Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles. The EU and the Republic of Korea reasserted the critical importance of the AI communication channel between the two regions, which was established in 2023. Finally, the EU, in a bid to stress the importance of network cooperation, has incorporated undersea cable connectivity projects in the Arctic to ensure trusted and secure data flows with third countries.

The next Digital Partnership Council is scheduled to take place in 2025 in Seoul.

Why does this matter?

The EU – Korea partnership is part of the EU’s larger Strategy for cooperation and strengthening of EU partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region. The first Digital Partnership Council between the EU and the Republic of Korea took place in Seoul on 23 June 2023. Along with Korea, the EU has also signed Digital Partnerships with Japan, in 2022 and Singapore, in 2023.