Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed.)

The EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) – Responding to the Crisis of the Liberal World Order

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Date of publication
1. edition


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The EU and Japan are about to adopt two (potentially) ground-breaking agreements: an EU-Japan free trade agreement and the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). The SPA, policymakers in both Brussels and Tokyo cheer, will be the ‘big bang’ of bilateral relations upgrading political and security ties from too passive to very active.

In this issue of the Asia Policy Brief, Axel Berkofsky, Professor at the University of Pavia, Italy, and Senior Associate Research Fellow at the Milan-based Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI), analyses the importance and potential outcomes of the SPA, which has been agreed “in principle” and which both sides hope to finalize by the end of the year. He argues that the adoption of the SPA would send a strong message that Europe and Japan are willing to uphold the universally established norms and values that are increasingly being challenged around the globe. 

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