During an interview with Yomiuri Shimbun in Tokyo on Nov. 28, Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider stated: “I am optimistic about reaching a final agreement” on the Japan-EU economic partnership agreement (EPA), “since there is no strong opposition among the EU members.”
Japan and the EU are aiming at concluding their EPA negotiations before the end of this year and are currently coordinating the final details.
The EU is holding an election of its legislature, the European Parliament, in the first half of 2019. Schneider said that, “It is possible that (the European Parliament) will ratify the Japan-EU EPA before the end of 2018,” indicating his confidence in the early effectuation of the accord.
President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, is from Luxembourg.