The first report on EU–Taiwan relations was approved in Brussels on Sept. 1, with 60 in favor, four against, and six abstentions. Parliament will hold a vote in a plenary on the report scheduled for next month.
Taiwan is a critical partner and democratic ally of the EU in the Indo–Pacific region, while the Chinese regime’s continued military belligerence threatens the peace and stability of the area, according to the draft of the report (pdf).
“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,” Swedish member of the European Parliament (MEP) Charlie Weimers said after the Sept. 1 vote.
Contrary to Beijing’s wishes, MEPs are urging the EU to expand cooperation with Taiwan, renaming the office’s title from “European Economic and Trade Office” to the “European Union Office in Taipei” to reflect the broader scope of its bilateral ties.
The move is contrary to Beijing’s agenda. The Chinese regime regards the self-ruled island as its province and places pressure on countries that challenge the claim. Most countries, including the United States and EU, have no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
MEPs are pushing the EU to work with like-minded allies to safeguard stability across the Taiwan Strait and sustain the country’s democracy.
Recently, EU member-state Lithuania drew the wrath of the Chinese regime for allowing Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania, using its own name. Beijing has reportedly restricted some trade with the Baltic country after recalling its envoy to Lithuania.
The communist regime keeps up its harsh rhetoric, threatening to use violence, if necessary, to control the island. Taiwan has reported more than 400 incursions of Chinese warplanes in its air defense zone in the past eight months, more than for the whole of 2020.
The Chinese regime has intensified “military belligerence, pressure, assault exercises, airspace violations, and disinformation campaigns against Taiwan,” according to the report.
“Taiwan is an important like-minded partner in the Indo–Pacific. Strengthening EU–Taiwan relations is especially important in light of increasing Chinese belligerence [and] the CCP’s [Chinese Communist Party] deliberate efforts to hide information about the Covid-19 outbreak,” Weimers wrote on Twitter.
“We must withstand Chinese pressure.”
MEPs also called for an impact assessment on the EU–Taiwan Bilateral Investment Agreement to “begin before the end of this year.” They emphasized the importance of trade relations on matters relating to the World Trade Organization, 5G, and public health, as well as semiconductors.
Tensions between the EU and China have increased considerably in the past two years. In July, the EU condemned China’s human rights abuses in Hong Kong and called for a boycott of the 2022 Olympics, which is due to be held in Beijing. EU sanctions for China’s abuses in Xinjiang were halted after seven years of trade negotiations.