Six members of the European Parliament on Friday delivered a letter to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council, calling for Taiwan’s participation at this year’s ICAO Assembly.
In the joint letter addressed to Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, president of the ICAO Council, the six called on the agency to invite Taiwan to the 40th Assembly, which is to be held in Montreal from Sept. 24 to Oct. 4, arguing that the nation’s participation is necessary to ensure global aviation safety and the ICAO’s objective of a “seamless sky.”
“The Taipei Flight Information Region (Taipei FIR), which is solely managed by Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration and which borders Fukuoka, Manila, Hong Kong and Shanghai FIRs, served 1.75 million controlled flights and 68.9 million passengers last year,” the letter said.
However, Taiwan’s inability to participate in the ICAO mechanism, meetings and activities, its lack of real-time access to complete aviation safety information and regulatory updates has created “serious gaps” in international civil aviation, it said.
Taiwan attended the 38th Assembly in 2013 as a special guest of then-ICAO president Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, “winning praise for its substantive contributions,” it said.
The lawmakers wrote that Taiwan’s participation is consistent with the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Communique issued in April, which supports the substantive participation of all active members of the international aviation community at ICAO forums.
“This document states, moreover, that the exclusion of some of its members for political purposes compromises aviation safety and security,” it said.
Observer status would be of significant advantage to Taiwan and the ICAO as a whole, it said.
The letter was signed by four European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group members, chairman Michael Gahler, vice chairmen Andrey Kovatchev and Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, and Ivan Stefanec, as well as Transport and Tourism Committee members Jens Gieseke and Tomasz Piotr Poreba.
The ICAO is the UN body responsible for establishing worldwide aviation policies, with the ICAO Assembly, the organization’s sovereign body, which meets every three years.
In 2013, Taiwan was represented at the assembly by then-Civil Aeronautics Administration director-general Jean Shen (沈啟).
That marked Taipei’s first representation at the assembly since losing its seat at the UN in 1971.
However, Taiwan was not invited to the 39th assembly in 2016, with opposition from Beijing widely believed to be the main reason.
In related news, Filip Grzegorzewski, a senior EU and Polish diplomat, has been nominated as head of the European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan, the European External Action Service said on Saturday.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini announced the latest round of rotations for its heads of delegations, which involved 43 officials.
“Filip Grzegorzewski has been nominated as Head of the European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan,” the press release said, adding that the heads of delegations would be formally appointed after agreement was received.
Grzegorzewski has already assumed the post, but was in Brussels for the EU Ambassadors Conference, which began on Monday, the office said on Facebook on Wednesday.
The 43-year-old replaces Madeleine Majorenko, who returned to Brussels last month after serving in Taipei for four years.
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