A Test For European Values On Taiwan – Analysis



Thomas J. Shattuck | Eurasia Review

(FPRI) — Relations between the European Union and Taiwan have accelerated at near warp speed over the last few weeks: The European Parliament approved a non-binding report calling for the expansion and intensification of the European Union’s relations with Taiwan; Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu visited a number of countries in Europe, including Brussels; Taiwan sent a business delegation to the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Slovakia; and Taiwan is now hosting the first-ever EU Parliamentary delegation in Taipei. All of these developments point to the potential beginning of a new chapter in how the EU will treat Taiwan, and they continue a wave of international support for Taipei. Within the EU context, the report is worth exploring more in-depth because it provides a framework for what is to come.

Passed by a substantial majority—580 to 26, with 66 abstentions—the report lays the groundwork for the next step in the EU’s approach to Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China, and the greater Indo-Pacific region. The report’s passage did not occur within a black box of improving relations with Taipei; it serves just as a much as a warning shot to Beijing over its disinformation operations and increasing assertive military posture in the region. With the EU-Taiwan political relations and cooperation report’s passage now in the rearview, Brussels and European capitals should follow through on the report’s primary objectives, lest it become another page in the ever-increasing stack of symbolic gestures supporting Taiwan.

The report continues the groundswell of support and calls to action from countries around the globe concerning their relations with Taiwan. The report itself mentions this trend: It “acknowledge[s] that the US and Japan have highlighted for the first time the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait in the joint statement of a recent bilateral summit.” Similar statements followed in the aftermath of that summit, most importantly the Group of 7 Carbis Bay Communique.

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