Sat, Feb 23, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Delegation urges stronger ties with EU

CHINA QUESTION:Werner Langen said that talks included the topic of a cross-strait peace accord, but his group would not interfere in domestic discussions on the matter

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group chairman Werner Langen speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

A delegation of members of the European Parliament yesterday vowed to remain on Taiwan’s side during difficult times and called for stronger political cooperation between the nation and the EU as they concluded their visit to Taiwan.

Speaking at a news conference in Taipei on the final day of their six-day visit, European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group chairman Werner Langen said the delegation of four members of the European Parliament was intended as a message of “support and solidarity.”

The group consists of more than 100 directly elected members of the European Parliament, Langen said.

“What brings us together is the respect and sympathy for Taiwan and its people. We feel that we share the same values and principles,” he said, listing freedom, democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and an open society.

Member of the European Parliament Eduard Kukan, who served three terms as Slovakian minister of foreign affairs, said that members of the group support Taiwan in Brussels when it faces difficult times.

“We are doing it because we believe that the Taiwanese society is built on the same values as the EU: respect for human rights, the rule of law and anti-corruption. We highly value the democratic character of your country,” Kukan said.

He said it was important for them to visit Taiwan and speak to its leaders and political party representatives, because it allowed them to hear firsthand experiences to enable those who follow to provide assistance.

Only 16 of the EU’s 28 member states have set up commercial and trade offices in Taiwan, Member of the European Parliament Cristian Preda said, urging the others to be more active in Taiwan and establish representative offices next year.

“Personally, I think it would be great to develop stronger political cooperation with Taiwan,” Preda said, adding that political relations between Taiwan and the EU should be a priority in Europe, particularly in the European Parliament.

A joint statement signed by 155 European Parliament members on Wednesday was delivered by Langen to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) calling for peace in the region.

When asked whether a cross-strait peace accord would help, Langen said that while the issue was discussed at meetings with political parties, the group would not interfere in domestic discussions regarding the matter.

“We think it is you, the Taiwanese people, [who] have to decide freely and democratically about Taiwan’s future,” Langen said. “I think we should not tell the people of Taiwan how their future should look. It is the decision inside Taiwan [that should decide] what is the right way.”

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) on Friday last week said that his party could ink a peace agreement with China if it regains the presidency next year.

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