Starting from July 1, the United Kingdom held the EU Presidency and targeted on two main agendas which British Prime Minister Tony Blair had addressed: the future directions of the European Union and the financial budget that is the basis of EU, said an official representative at the British Trade & Culture Office.
"It is a great privilege to be president of the European Union and a great opportunity to take forward various items of the agenda; it is also a challenging time to be the presidency of the Union as there are a few big issues on the table," said Derek Marsh, CVO, Director General of the British Trade and Cultural Office in Taiwan.
"One is the direction that the Union is going and the other is the budget. It will be up to us to take the debates [the issues] forwards the best we can," Marsh said.
"One of the things that the presidency has to do, the presidency has to achieve compromise between the twenty-five member states," he added.
The themes for the UK presidency will be around security, stability and sustainable prosperity and opportunity, which include issues such as regulatory reform, service directive, CAP reform, Africa, climate change, JHA (including Counter Terrorism), and EU membership for Turkey.
"For us, we are in the slightly unusual position because at the same time of having a presidency at the European Union, we also have a presidency in Group 8 countries," said Marsh. The 2005 G8 Summit took place at place at Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland from July 6-8.
Among those issues is the EU constitution, which at the referendum, the people in France and in Holland had said for "NO" at the electoral.
Marsh suggested the message from the NO vote of European is a wake up call to the leadership to recognize that there are concerns, in particular the EU constitution, within the European Union which has to be addressed by the leadership. He quoted Prime Minister Tony Blair's speech at the parliament on June 23, "There are two possible explanations. One is that people studied the Constitution and disagreed with its precise articles; the other explanation is that the Constitution became merely the vehicle for the people to register a wider and deeper discontent with the state of affairs in Europe. I believe this is the right correct analysis."
Marsh, last served as the Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy at Seoul, became Director General at BTCO in Taiwan at 2001. In the last six months of the three-year term, he talks about the past in terms on education, investment and trade.
In terms of education and student exchange, Marsh said, "Britain is now the second most popular destination for Taiwanese students. We are very successful at selling Britain to Taiwan. We reckon maybe 13,000 Taiwanese students at any one time, compare to 50 about fifteen years ago."
In 2004, the bilateral trade volume was as high as 3.3 billion pounds. UK exports to Taiwan were 950 million pounds, arise 5.4% over 2003; Taiwan exports to UK were about 2.4 billion pounds. The major exports from Britain were semiconductor electronic components, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, vaccines, beverages (mainly Whisky and Scotch). Britain imports were machine components, computer peripherals, and video conference phones, sourced from the UK Trade and Investment.
The science and innovation team in BTCO, created four years ago, was to let British companies and scientists understand what Taiwanese scientists and companies are doing and vice versa. "The main purpose of this team is not just sharing of academic ideas, but commercial values. I want to see British and Taiwanese company benefit commercially from working together."
BACK TO NORMAL? The move would be part of a gradual easing of curbs monitored by the CECC, which would retain the quarantine mandate if case numbers rise again The Cabinet yesterday approved a plan to next month reopen Taiwan’s borders to all visitors and lift the quarantine mandate for arrivals, provided the nation’s COVID-19 situation does not escalate. The changes are likely to take effect on Oct. 13 as part of a phased easing of border controls that is to start on Thursday next week when a negative polymerase chain reaction test result would no longer be needed, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference. Arriving travelers would instead be given four rapid antigen home test kits, Lo said. The three-day quarantine requirement followed by four days of mandatory
The Chinese navy has the ability to blockade Taiwan, but doing so could prompt a coordinated response by the international community to intervene to resolve the crisis for Taiwan, US Vice Admiral Karl Thomas said. “Clearly if they do something that’s non-kinetic, which, you know, a blockade is less kinetic ... then that allows the international community to weigh in and to work together on how we’re going to solve that challenge,” the commander of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Monday. While he could not predict whether China would launch a full-scale
‘NO SURRENDER’: A blockade or outlying island seizure would be an act of war, and China’s drills last month have emboldened Taipei in its response plans, an official said The Republic of China Army Command Headquarters has agreed to purchase 5,000 Kestrel close-range anti-armor missiles worth NT$400 million (US$12.63 million) from the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, according to the military’s latest arms purchase bid notice. The army asked the institute to complete the order within 13 months, a military source said on condition of anonymity. Kestrel missiles are designed to penetrate armored vehicles and are used in anti-surface warfare, as they feature optical sights and night vision, and can be operated in all weather conditions. The missile has a 400m range, or a 150m range when used for breaching brick
‘ABSURD’: UN Resolution 2758 expelled the Chiang Kai-Shek government without mentioning Taipei, something the Chinese minister did not acknowledge, Taipei said Taiwan yesterday criticized Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) for “intentionally misinterpreting” a 1971 UN resolution to misrepresent Taiwan’s status to the global community. In his address on Saturday to the UN General Assembly, Wang cited Resolution 2758 as a basis for Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China. He said that Beijing considers Taiwan an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times.” “Only when China is completely reunified can there be enduring peace across the Taiwan Strait... Any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” Wang said. General Assembly Resolution 2758