Who we are
Welcome to the official website of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to the Republic of Korea (RoK). The EU is represented and is located in the RoK’s capital city of Seoul. The EU and the RoK established diplomatic relations in 1963, which were elevated to a strategic partnership in 2010.
The EU continues to consolidate its position as the RoK’s 3rd largest trade partner in goods and the RoK remains the 8th largest trading partner for the EU. The RoK is the EU’s first country to have concluded the 3 key agreements covering political, trade and security cooperation: a Framework Agreement, Free Trade Agreement and Crisis Management and Participation Agreement. The EU has been an avid supporter of the Korean and international efforts in establishing peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
What we do
The role of the Delegation
- To represent the Union, as appropriate, in the Republic of Korea.
- To inform the European Union on political, social, economic, external relations and trade developments in the Republic of Korea and, in this regard, to maintain contact with the principal players in the fields of politics and public life generally, the economy, business, civil society and higher education.
- To ensure a smooth and fruitful development of bilateral relations in the political, economic, commercial and co-operation fields and to seek to develop and encourage initiatives to promote co-operation under the Framework Agreement.
- To monitor and ensure implementation of the EU-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement.
- To promote and protect the EU’s interests and values and to spread knowledge and raise awareness of developments in the EU, its policies, purposes and aims with a view to engendering a better understanding of EU affairs and establishing a higher profile for the EU.
- To promote the EU’s policies in all areas.
- To foster close co-operation on EU matters with Member States’ missions via regular meetings at Ambassador, Counsellor, Information and Administration Officer levels.
- To carry out press and information activities in pursuit of the above objectives.
Maria Castillo Fernandez, European official diplomat of Spanish nationality, now Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Korea, previously EU Ambassador in Malaysia from 2016-2020, Head of Division for India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh since September 2012 at the European External Action Service of the European Union, in charge of managing and coordinating the European Union's overall relations with these South Asian countries as well as with the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
From 2008 to September 2012, posted in Hong Kong, representing the EU as the Head of the Office of the European Union accredited to Hong Kong and Macao SARs.
From September 2005-2008, she worked as Deputy Head of Mission at the EU Delegation in Seoul (Republic of Korea) in charge of EU political relations and economic cooperation activities with the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Prior to this, Mrs. Castillo was responsible, in Brussels, for the European Commission’s overall relations with the Korean Peninsula, including both Republic of Korea and DPRK (2000-2005).
An extensive career in the European Commission also included posting as:
- Desk Officer for relations with Russia (1996-2000) in charge of implementing the European political and economic relations with Russia.
- Legal Advisor and manager of research programmes in the field of exchanges and mobility of EU scientists and research networks (1990-1996).
- Legal Advisor in charge of thematic human rights issues, with publications on the right of children under European law in the European Law Review (1989).
Mrs. Castillo completed postgraduate studies in European law, economics and international relations with two masters, one at the College of Europe (Bruges, Belgium) and a second at the Institute of European Studies (Strasbourg, France) following a degree in law from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain).
Her mother tongue is Spanish, but she is fluent in English and French, with good knowledge of German and Dutch and passive knowledge of Portuguese and Italian. She has some notions of Mandarin and Korean from her postings abroad.
Mrs. Castillo was decorated with the Cruz de Oficial de la Orden del Mérito Civil by the King of Spain on 24 June 2008 for strengthening relations between the EU and the Korean Peninsula.
Get to know our team
Ambassador, Head of Delegation
Head of Political Section
Head of Trade section
Head of Administration
Press and Information Officer