Legislators lobbying for Taiwan's entry into the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed optimism as they wrapped up their European mission on Friday.
Speaking in Rome, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator William Lai (
After talking to officials and lawmakers in several EU countries, Lai said there was a consensus that support for Taiwan's membership in the WHO had been growing among EU members.
This was based in humanitarian and human rights concerns, Lai said.
Some European countries suggested that Taiwan be more practical in applying to enter the health body. They said it would be easier for them to voice support for the bid if Taiwan could negotiate with China first, Lai said.
Taiwan will submit its eighth application to join the WHO when the World Health Assembly, the WHO's governing body, meets in Geneva from May 17 to May 24.
The health authorities in most EU countries backed Taiwan's participation in the WHO, but found it difficult to openly express support because of their countries' foreign policy, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yang Li-huan (楊麗環) said.
Yang said that a senior official in charge of Asian affairs from one of the EU's member states told the group that excluding Taiwan from the WHO had created a loophole in the world's health network.
Taiwan's absence meant the WHO's goal to "take care of all mankind's health" could not be realized, Yang quoted the official as saying.
"After this visit, we have come to understand that most countries are supportive of Taiwan's bid. They all agree that Taiwan should adopt an appropriate identity to join the WHO," DPP Legislator Chien Chao-tung (
For the sake of the health of Taiwanese people and people around the world, Taiwan should not be barred from the WHO, he said.
"As the EU expands and its membership grows to 25, a European political stance will become more cohesive. That would boost Taiwan's chances of entering the WHO," Chien added.
The dramatic developments following the presidential election had significantly increased the country's exposure to the international community, the group said. Wide international media coverage of the election also helped Taiwan's WHO bid, they said.
Lai said many officials had expressed considerable concern over the aftermath of the presidential election.
"After observing the election, they said Taiwan was a 100-percent democratic country and that Taiwan was a sovereign country," Lai said.
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