Thu, Jul 29, 2004 - Page 1 News List

President praises the EU's example as nation's future

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday reiterated that the EU's experiences in integrating the common interests of the people of Europe through trade-based interactions and respecting the individual freedom of choices could serve as a model for the future cross-strait relations.

"The EU's experiences in integrating the nations of Europe sheds a lot of light on how Taiwan might conduct future relations with China. The reason the EU is successful is because the principles of voluntary participation, equality and peace are upheld, and that trade-based interactions serve as the initial approach to bringing European countries closer for further integration," Chen said yesterday in a meeting with French parliamentarian Alain Madelin in the Presidential Office.

Chen mentioned in his inauguration speech on May 20 that the EU model could be the approach used to address cross-strait issues based on "peaceful development and freedom of choice," a premise that could set relations in any form between Taiwan and China, as long as the consent of Taiwan's 23 million people is gained.

Madelin yesterday however pointed out a hindrance for the application of the EU model across the Taiwan Strait, as China has never forsaken the option of using force against Taiwan.

"The process of the European integration is based on the peaceful relations among all European countries. However, in the context of cross-strait relations, China has never given up the possibility of using force against Taiwan. Under such an entirely different situation, it will be very difficult for cross-strait relations to develop like the EU," Madelin was quoted as saying in a press release by the Presidential Office yesterday.

In addition, Chen yesterday drew comparisons between Taiwan's constitutional framework and dual-executive system -- or semi-presidential system -- and the French dual-executive system, in an effort to highlight the need to revamp the Constitution.

Chen said the reason the government is planning on revamping the Constitution is to revise the current constitutional system, a mixture between the presidential system and parliamentary system which has generated many problems and hinders the functioning of government system.

Chen said "although the design of Taiwan's constitutional framework takes part of its structure from the French dual-executive system, the copy of such a design is flawed, and leaves Taiwan's system as something that is neither a presidential system, parliamentary system, nor a French-style dual-executive system.

"This is why we need to conduct constitutional reengineering to solve this fundamental problem with our Constitution."

Madelin, also a lawyer, has 25 years of experience serving as a parliamentarian, cabinet minister and a member of the European Parliament. He is the founder of the French Liberal Democratic Party, of which he is the chairman.

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