Despite the rising number of Taiwanese fraud suspects operating in Europe, the EU will not revoke Taiwanese passport holders’ visa-waiver privileges, the EU’s top envoy to Taiwan said.
“We believe that every person takes responsibility for their actions and we will pursue them according to all the legal means we have,” said Madeleine Majorenko, head of the European Economic and Trade Office, which represents the EU’s interests in Taiwan.
The EU will use a full legal system to pursue suspects, but will never turn that against Taiwan, Majorenko said on Monday.
“We do not believe in collective punishment, and I honestly believe it would be a form of collective punishment if we said that the Taiwanese were responsible for what some individuals are doing, for the criminal activities of some people,” Majorenko said.
Taiwanese passport holders have enjoyed visa-free stays of up to 90 days in EU nations since 2011, but there have been concerns that the privilege could be revoked due to periodic cases of Taiwanese allegedly engaging in telecom fraud in Europe.
In 2016, hundreds of Taiwanese were arrested in Greece and Spain for alleged involvement in telecom fraud. Similar cases also emerged in Poland, Croatia and Slovenia in January.
The EU went through a complete and thorough legislation process before it granted Taiwanese passport holders visa-waiver privileges, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of European Affairs Director-General Anna Kao (高安) said on the sidelines of the ministry’s routine news conference in Taipei yesterday.
“The European Commission submitted the proposal first and then reviewed our nation’s illegal immigration risk and other objective factors,” Kao said, adding that to the ministry’s knowledge, telecom fraud cases and visa exemption status were not associated.
However, Kao urged the public to respect the laws of the nations they are visiting and refrain from engaging in activities that are illegal or not permitted under their visas.
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