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European MEPs call for stronger EU-Taiwan ties, warn of China threat

EU Parliament's foreign affairs committee calls for bilateral investment agreement with Taiwan

Charlie Weimers. (Facebook, Charlie Weimers photo)

Charlie Weimers. (Facebook, Charlie Weimers photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — MEPs from the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday (Sept. 1) adopted a report calling for a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) with Taiwan and warned of the increasing military pressure China is placing on the country.

On Wednesday, a report calling for a stronger partnership between the EU and Taiwan was put up to a vote in the EU's Foreign Affairs Committee. Out of the 70 members present, 60 voted in favor, four opposed, and six abstained.

The report encourages the EU and Taiwan to strengthen official exchanges, including at the highest level, and calls on the European Commission to conduct an impact assessment on a BIA with Taiwan before the end of this year in order to prepare for negotiations to strengthen economic relations. Key areas of economics and trade highlighted by the MEPs included the World Trade Organization, technology, public health, and critically important semiconductor supplies.

MEPs warned that China poses a "grave threat" to the status quo of relations across the Taiwan Strait as well as the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region. They called on the EU to take more steps to address these rising tensions and to "protect Taiwan's democracy" and the country's status as an "important EU partner."

After the vote, Swedish MEP and Rapporteur Charlie Weimers stated that this first EU report on Taiwan relations "sends a strong signal that the EU is ready to upgrade its relationship with our key partner Taiwan." He strongly urged the EU to step up efforts to lay the groundwork for BIA negotiations with the East Asian nation by the year's end.

In response, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday morning (Sept. 2) posted a tweet in which it expressed gratitude to the committee. It also thanked committee members for acknowledging Taiwan's role in "defending democracy and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific."