Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs urge the EU to pursue closer relations with Taiwan, while issuing warnings over the continued tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
In a new report adopted on Wednesday, MEPs on the Foreign Affairs Committee advocate closer relations and a stronger partnership between the EU and Taiwan guided by the EU’s One China Policy.
They also hail Taiwan as a key EU partner and democratic ally in the Indo-Pacific that contributes to maintaining a rules-based order in the midst of an intensifying rivalry between the great powers in the region.
Prepare the ground for a new Bilateral Investment Agreement
To step up cooperation, the text stresses the need to urgently begin an “impact assessment, public consultation and scoping exercise” on an EU-Taiwan Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA). MEPs highlight the importance of trade and economic relations between the two sides, including on matters relating to multilateralism and the World Trade Organization, technology such as 5G, public health, as well as essential cooperation on critical supplies such as semiconductors.
Deep concerns over Chinese military pressure against Taiwan
On another note, the report expresses grave concern over China’s continued military belligerence, pressure, assault exercises, airspace violations and disinformation campaigns against Taiwan. It urges the EU to do more to address these tensions and to protect Taiwan’s democracy and the island’s status as an important EU partner.
MEPs insist that any change to Chinese-Taiwanese cross-strait relations must be neither unilateral nor against the will of Taiwanese citizens. They also issue a stark reminder of the direct connection between European prosperity and Asian security and of the consequences for Europe if a conflict were to extend well beyond the economic realm.
The text, which also addresses a range of other aspects and recommendations related to EU-Taiwan relations, will now be submitted to a vote in plenary. It was approved by 60 votes in favour, 4 against with 6 abstentions.
“The first European Parliament report on EU-Taiwan relations sends a strong signal that the EU is ready to upgrade its relationship with our key partner Taiwan. The Commission must now intensify EU-Taiwan relations and pursue a comprehensive enhanced partnership with Taiwan. Work on an impact assessment, public consultation and a scoping exercise on a Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) with the Taiwanese authorities in preparation for negotiations to deepen our economic ties must begin before the end of this year”, said rapporteur Charlie Weimers (ECR, Sweden) after the vote.