BIA talks not stalled by execution in Taiwan despite huge disappointment from Brussels: EU official

Madeleine Majorenko weighed in on an execution in August, the first one in Taiwan after more than two years

President Tsai Ing-wen and EU representative to Taiwan Madeleine Majorenko (Right) attend the 2017 Europe Day Dinner (Source: Office of President, Tai...

President Tsai Ing-wen and EU representative to Taiwan Madeleine Majorenko (Right) attend the 2017 Europe Day Dinner (Source: Office of President, Tai...

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The European Union representative to Taiwan said Friday, despite huge disappointment toward the Tsai administration’s decision to exercise the death penalty in August, the case will not hinder the discussion between the EU and Taiwan on the investment deal that both parties have been trying to put together.

“It will not affect the progress of our discussions on the agreement,” said Madeleine Majorenko, head of the European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan, at a media luncheon on Friday. “We will not hold the agreement hostage” in order to deal with another issue, added the representative.

However, Majorenko hinted the execution of Lee Hung-chi (李宏基) at the end of August, the first case since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May, 2016, might have brought some changes to the general situation. “There was a huge element of disappointment in Brussels at the execution.”

Majorenko said the Taiwanese government told her office after the execution that the current law had bound the government to exercise the death penalty. “We do not accept that logic,” said the representative, adding “just because it says in the law that you can execute somebody doesn’t mean we believe you then have to do it.”

“The government needs to lead on this discussion,” emphasized the Majorenko, who was told that abolishing the death penalty remains a consistent policy of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, even though the party is uncertain about pushing it forward now.

Majorenko also referred to the results of an opinion poll her office had requested Academia Sinica to conduct a couple of years ago, showing that when there are alternatives to the death penalty in terms of punishing those who commit serious crime, the majority of the public is actually willing to consider the alternatives as a replacement for the death penalty.

As for the Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA), for which the European Parliament had earlier passed a resolution calling for more action in favor of it, Majorenko indicated that the development of the discussion on the deal remains the same thus far. “But I am pushing,” added the representative.