European Parliament passes report on enhancing Taiwan-EU relations

10/21/2021 06:33 PM
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Image from Unsplash
Image from Unsplash

Brussels, Oct. 21 (CNA) The European Parliament passed a report Wednesday on enhancing European Union-Taiwan relations, including calling on the EU to begin preparing for the possible signing of a Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) with Taiwan and to change the name of the EU representative office in Taipei.

The EU-Taiwan Political Relations and Cooperation report was approved by 580 votes in favor and 26 against with 66 abstentions.

In the report, Europe parliamentarians hailed Taiwan as a "key EU partner and democratic ally" in the Indo-Pacific," one that contributes to maintaining a rules-based order amid an "intensifying rivalry between the major geopolitical actors in the region."

To enhance closer cooperation, the report stressed the need to launch an "impact assessment, public consultation and scoping exercise" for an EU-Taiwan BIA.

The Europe parliamentarians highlighted the importance of trade and economic relations between the EU and Taiwan, including on matters relating to multilateralism and the World Trade Organization, technology such as 5G, public health, and essential cooperation on critical supplies like semiconductors.

The report also called for the name of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taipei to be changed to "European Union Office in Taiwan" to reflect the broad scope of bilateral ties.

The EETO represents EU interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties.

The report also expressed grave concern over China's continued military coercion and disinformation campaigns against Taiwan.

The Europe parliamentarians urged the EU to do more to address these tensions, to protect Taiwan's democracy, and the island's status as an important EU partner.

The European Parliament insists that any change to cross-Taiwan Strait relations "must be neither unilateral nor against the will of Taiwanese citizens."

Member of the European Parliament Charlie Weimers, the rapporteur of the report, applauded its approval, saying that the move sends a strong signal that the EU is ready to "upgrade its relationship with our key partner Taiwan."

"The Commission must now intensify EU-Taiwan relations and pursue a comprehensive enhanced partnership with Taiwan. Work on an impact assessment, a public consultation, and a scoping exercise on a BIA with the Taiwanese authorities in preparation for negotiations to deepen our economic ties must begin before the end of this year," Weimers said.

Evin Incir, a member of the Europe Parliament from Sweden, who voted Wednesday in favor of the report, told CNA that she had previously been threatened by the Chinese Embassy in Sweden that her support toward Taiwan "would have consequences," after she had voted in the Committee on Foreign Affairs on deepening cooperation with Taiwan earlier this year.

"This behavior from the Chinese regime is absolutely despicable. My conviction is clear. I will proudly vote in favor of the report today in defense of democracy and freedom, regardless of the threats of consequences by the oppressive communist regime," she said.

Praising Taiwan as a democratic role model and leader of LGBTQI rights in East Asia, Incir said Taiwan should be supported and rewarded in this regard.

"With this report, the EU will send a message of support to the people of Taiwan and let the world know that they are not alone," she said.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Joseph Yeh)

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