The European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday approved proposals that urge the EU to bolster political ties with Taiwan and rename its European Economic and Trade Office the “EU Office in Taiwan.”
EU lawmakers passed the EU-Taiwan Political Relations and Cooperation report and related proposals in a 60-4 vote, with six members abstaining.
The report is to be brought to the floor of the European Parliament next month. It expresses concern over China’s saber-rattling, and calls on Beijing to cease any action that jeopardizes peace in the Taiwan Strait and not to upset the “status quo” without Taipei’s consent.
The report recommended that the EU initiate work on a bilateral investment agreement with Taiwan and hold talks with the country at the highest official levels.
The EU should play a larger role in international initiatives that maintain peace across the Strait and improve Taiwan’s democracy, while making it a strategic partner in the Indo-Pacific region, it said.
The report condemned China’s trade embargo on Lithuania and recommended that the EU support the Baltic state in the dispute.
In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement yesterday thanked the committee, saying that the nation looks forward to more milestones in Taiwan-EU ties.
The ministry would closely monitor the European Parliament’s upcoming vote, it said, adding that the report marked the 10th anniversary of a visa-waiver agreement between Taiwan and the EU.
“Taiwan and the EU share the core values of democracy, freedom and human rights as like-minded partners,” it said.
That Taiwan and Lithuania plan to establish representative offices in each other’s capitals is the best illustration of improved relations between Taiwan and the EU, as well as its member states, it said.
“Taiwan does not back down from intimidation and will stand up for the democratic beliefs of the EU, the US, Japan and other like-minded partners,” it added.
The Chinese Mission to the EU issued a statement saying that the bloc had contravened its “one China” principle and betrayed the trust underlying the two entities’ relations.
EU lawmakers should “immediately correct their erroneous speech and action to protect the political foundation of China-EU relations,” Beijing said.
At a news conference in Taipei, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said passage of the report marks a “historic leap” in Taiwan-Europe ties.
The nation should be gladdened by support in the European Parliament for Taiwan’s inclusion in the international community and the resolution for bilateral economic ties, DPP Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) said.
Mention of Taiwan had been avoided in European politics since regional states began switching recognition from the Republic of China to the People’s Republic of China in the 1960s, Tsai said.
This has changed under President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) leadership, with strides having been made to re-establish relationships between Taiwan and EU members, and raise awareness of Taiwan’s importance in European public discourse, he said.
Additional reporting by Chien Hui-ju
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