EU-Taiwan relations: MEPs push for stronger partnership

(Source: European Parliament)

  • Taiwan a key EU partner and democratic ally
  • Bilateral Investment Agreement a central feature of future cooperation
  • EU must do more to address tensions with China and protect Taiwanese democracy

Parliament calls for closer relations with Taiwan guided by the EU’s One China Policy, while issuing warnings over the continued tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

MEPs hail Taiwan as a key EU partner and democratic ally in the Indo-Pacific, one that contributes to maintaining a rules-based order in the midst of an intensifying rivalry between the major geopolitical actors in the region.

Lay the groundwork for a new Bilateral Investment Agreement

To step up cooperation, the text adopted by MEPs stresses the urgent need to launch an “impact assessment, public consultation and scoping exercise” for an EU-Taiwan Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA). Members highlight 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.

Deep concerns over Chinese military pressure against Taiwan

The report expresses grave concern over China’s continued military belligerence, pressure, assault exercises, airspace violations and disinformation campaigns against Taiwan. MEPs urge the EU to do more to address these tensions, to protect Taiwan’s democracy, and the island’s status as an important EU partner.

Parliament insists that any change to Chinese-Taiwanese relations must be neither unilateral nor against the will of Taiwanese citizens. It also issues a stark reminder of the direct connection between European prosperity and Asian security and of the consequences for Europe if a conflict were to expand beyond economic issues.

Finally, Members propose changing the name of the European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan to ‘European Union Office in Taiwan’ in order to reflect the broad scope of EU-Taiwanese ties.

The text was approved today by 580 votes in favour, 26 against with 66 abstentions. It will be available in full here. (21.10.2021)

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“The European Parliament’s first report on EU-Taiwan relations demonstrates 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 Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) with the Taiwanese authorities in preparation for negotiations to deepen our economic ties must begin before the end of this year”, said rapporteur Charlie Weimers (ECR, Sweden) after the vote.

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