Member of the European Parliament Charlie Weimers on Thursday called on the EU to invite Taiwanese leaders to visit Europe as part of its efforts to forge closer ties between the two sides.
Weimers, the rapporteur of a draft report titled “EU-Taiwan Relations and Cooperation,” said that relations on “political levels” should be promoted in response to China ramping up military threats against Taiwan.
After the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee approved the draft report on Wednesday, Weimers, who is from Sweden, said that the first-ever passage of such a report in the committee was a historic event, signaling that the EU is ready to deepen relations with Taiwan.
“I think the European Union should invite Taiwanese leaders to Europe,” Weimers said in an interview with the Central News Agency.
He supports high-level official exchanges between the EU and Taiwan, Weimers said, urging the parliament to push for political exchanges between the two sides.
The draft report was overwhelmingly approved with 60 votes in favor, four votes against and six abstentions.
The draft would now be submitted to a vote in the parliament next month.
The report called for closer relations and a stronger partnership between the two sides “guided by the EU’s one China policy.”
To step up cooperation, the report stressed the need to begin an “impact assessment, public consultation and scoping exercise” on an “EU-Taiwan Bilateral Investment Agreement.”
Weimers said that he in May received an e-mail from the Chinese embassy in Sweden, criticizing the draft report.
The e-mail repeated Beijing’s viewpoint that the involvement of Taiwan would touch upon China’s internal affairs.
“Legislators throughout Europe as well as countries are under increased pressure from China,” Weimers said. “We must learn from that. We must make value change much more independent from Chinese influences.”
The draft report also called on the bloc to change the name of the European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan to “European Union Office in Taiwan” to reflect the broad scope of bilateral ties.
“I strongly support the name change,” Weimers said.
The report not only reflects that the EU has developed close economic and trade ties with Taiwan, but that both sides have “very much in common in terms of values, in terms of how we take on the big challenges over times,” he said, citing as examples energy development and academic exchanges.
“The name change of the office in Taiwan would reflect such a broadening of the scope of relationships between the Europe and Taiwan,” Weimers said.
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