The delegation of the European Parliament to Taipei on Friday concluded its visit aimed to study Taiwanese experiences in addressing interference and manipulation campaigns.
The seven members of the Special Committee on Foreign Interference and Disinformation (INGE) met President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen, other representatives of the Taiwanese authorities and civil society organisations to discuss Taiwan’s innovative system to combat disinformation campaigns and other types of hybrid attacks. This has been the first official visit of the European Parliament to Taiwan.
Echoing a report recently adopted by the Parliament, MEPs referred to Taiwan as a “key partner and democratic ally”. They called on the EU and other democracies facing similar interference operations to draw lessons from Taiwanese best practice.
The delegation expressed solidarity with Taiwan for its efforts to deal with unprecedented pressure from the People’s Republic of China and agreed to explore avenues of partnership, including a possible creation of a common disinformation hub in Taipei. No pressure on the EU or on any individual member state can be accepted, they said.
At their meetings, MEPs praised the great achievements of Taiwan, which has become a model of democracy in the region and one of the most advanced economies in the world.
“Today Taiwan is the most vibrant democracy in the region, a treasure that all democrats around the world should cherish and protect. Europe is standing with Taiwan in the defence of freedom, rule of law and human dignity. We have learned a lot from its experience in standing up to destabilisation attempts. We are now looking forward to new ways of cooperation”, said Raphaël Glucksmann (S&D, FR), the leader of the delegation.
Taiwan has succeeded in countering externally organised destabilisation campaigns by making its entire society more resilient while avoiding restrictions on freedom of expression.
Its strategy involves cooperation among all branches of government but also with independent NGOs specialized in fact-checking and media literacy, as well as with social media platforms, such as Facebook. It promotes media literacy for all generations, debunks disinformation, and curbs the spread of manipulative messages. The system also foresees the provision of accurate information as soon as disinformation campaign is detected.
The lessons MEPs drew from Taiwan’s experience in disinformation and destabilisation campaigns, mainly orchestrated by Chinese state actors, are going to feed into the ongoing work on the recommendations of the special committee.
The recording of a press conference at the end of the visit is available here.
For the composition of the delegation and further details, please check this press release.
The INGE special committee is tasked to provide a long-term approach to address foreign interference in the democratic institutions and processes of the EU and its member states. Information gathering delegations are part of the toolkit at the committee’s disposal before it adopts its report in December 2021.