The EU cannot tolerate increasing human rights abuses or remain silent in the face of an increasingly expansionist and aggressive foreign policy in the Indo-Pacific region and on a global scale, European Parliament Vice President Fabio Massimo Castaldo said in reference to China.
Castaldo made the remarks in an interview with Italian daily Il Manifesto published on Friday.
Compared with China’s advances in the region, Taiwan presents an alternative model, Castaldo said.
The importance of deepening relations with Taiwan lies in that the nation and the EU share the values of democracy and freedom based on pluralism, and they fully respect the rule of law, he said.
If the EU wants to bolster its diplomatic and economic presence in the Indo-Pacific region amid intensifying confrontations between rival powers, it would be impossible not to develop closer relations with partners that share common values and principles, including Taiwan, Japan, India, Indonesia and South Korea, he said.
Castaldo also commented on a report passed last week by the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs urging the EU to improve its relations with Taiwan.
The report says that the EU is increasingly concerned with China’s activities in the Indo-Pacific region, Castaldo said.
In the report, he emphasized Taiwan’s important position in the global supply chain and said that China has continued to obstruct the nation’s access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Regarding China’s retaliatory measures against Lithuania’s rapprochement with Taiwan and its protest against members of the European Parliament following the report, Castaldo used Hong Kong as an example, saying that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government had twice vetoed EU declarations of support for Hong Kong, undermining the internal solidarity of the EU.
The EU’s foreign policy cannot be taken hostage by vetoes or influenced by governments with financial interests, he said.
If the bloc’s 27 member states can act in unity, they would become leading figures in international politics, economy and diplomacy, he said.
On the other hand, if they are divided, they would be vulnerable and become irrelevant, he said.
Castaldo added on Facebook that it was time for Europe to strongly support bolstering relations with Taiwan.
Castado is the youngest European Parliament vice president in history, elected to office in 2017 at the age of 32.
He is a non-attached member of the European Parliament and a member of Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement, the largest party in the country’s parliament.
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