October 30, 2016
The Honorable Ryszard Czarnecki, vice president of the European Parliament, leads an eight-member delegation from the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group to visit Taiwan from October 29 to November 4, 2016 at the invitation of the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
The purpose of the visit is to gain a better understanding of the latest economic and political developments in Taiwan, as well as developments in cross-strait relations and ties between Taiwan and the European Union. While in Taiwan, the delegation will have an audience with Vice President Chen Chien-jen, call on Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan, and visit the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Mainland Affairs Council, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), the European Economic and Trade Office and the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan, as well as attend a reception hosted by Minister of Foreign Affairs David Tawei Lee. The delegation will also visit sites of cultural and economic interest, such as the National Palace Museum, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Longshan Temple, improving their knowledge about the current state of Taiwan and government policies.
In addition to Vice President Czarnecki and Mrs. Czarnecki, other members of the delegation include Hans-Olaf Henkel MEP, the vice-chairman of the ECR Group; Nikolay Barekov MEP and Mrs. Barekov; Bernd Lucke MEP; Bernd Kölmel MEP; and Stephen Woodard, the deputy secretary general of the ECR Group.
The European Parliament comprises 751 MEPs, who represent over 500 million people in the 28 EU member countries. The European Union and the European Parliament have issued multiple friendly statements and resolutions regarding Taiwan in the past, including support for Taiwan’s participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization, Schengen visa-waiver treatment for ROC citizens, and the signing of an economic cooperation agreement between Taiwan and the EU. The two institutions have also affirmed the positive development of cross-strait relations, and called on the European Commission to launch negotiations with Taiwan on an investment protection and market access agreement. The European Parliament also adopted a resolution on July 5 this year calling on the European Commission to commence immediate negotiations with Taiwan on a bilateral investment agreement.
The EU is Taiwan’s fifth-largest trading partner, and Taiwan is the EU’s seventh-largest trading partner in Asia, with bilateral trade reaching US$46.4 billion in 2015. European enterprises are also Taiwan’s largest source of foreign investment, with total investments having reached US$41.1 billion as of the end of September 2016, bearing testimony to the strength of bilateral economic relations. In addition to economics and trade, recent years have seen the two sides maintain the expansion of practical cooperation on multiple levels and in multiple areas such as science and technology, environmental protection, education, customs and tariffs, ICT, judicial assistance, youth working holidays, food safety, and innovation and research, continuing to deepen their excellent partnership. (E)