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European Parliament passes report on enhancing Taiwan-EU relations

ROC Central News Agency

09/02/2021 01:04 PM

Brussels, Sept. 1 (CNA) The European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday passed a report and related amendments to enhance European Union-Taiwan relations, including a call on the EU to begin preparing for the possible signing of a Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) with Taiwan and to change the name of EU representative office in Taipei.

The draft report, titled EU-Taiwan Relations and Cooperation, was approved by 60 votes in favor, with four votes against and six abstentions. It will now be submitted to a vote in the plenary scheduled for next month.

In the new report adopted on Wednesday, the Foreign Affairs Committee advocates closer relations and a stronger partnership between the EU and Taiwan "guided by the EU's One China Policy."

To step up cooperation, the report stresses the need to urgently begin an "impact assessment, public consultation and scoping exercise" on an EU-Taiwan BIA.

The report highlights the importance of trade and economic relations between the two sides, including on matters relating to multilateralism and the World Trade Organization (WTO), technology such as 5G, public health, as well as essential cooperation on critical supplies, including semiconductors.

The report also expresses deep concern over Chinese military pressure against Taiwan, urging 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."

It insists that any change to cross-Taiwan Strait relations "must be neither unilateral nor against the will of Taiwanese citizens."

Meanwhile, an amendment passed during Wednesday's session called on changing the name of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taiwan to "European Union Office in Taiwan" to reflect the broad scope of bilateral ties.

The EETO represents EU interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties.

European Parliament Member Charlie Weimers, the rapporteur of the report, applauded the decision made by the committee, saying that the move sends a strong signal that the EU is ready to "upgrade its relationship with our key partner Taiwan."

"Work on an impact assessment, public consultation and a scoping exercise on a BIA with the Taiwanese authorities in preparation for negotiations to deepen our economic ties must begin before the end of this year," said Weimers after the vote.

In a later tweet, Weimers said Taiwan has been an invaluable partner to the international community in regard to many challenges the world faces today.

He said it is therefore imperative to have Taiwan included as an observer in meetings, mechanisms and activities of international bodies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

"We must withstand Chinese pressure," he said.

In Taipei, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed gratitude toward the European Parliament's action, while pledging to continue to enhance Taiwan-EU relations.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Joseph Yeh)

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