Taipei, Nov. 1 (CNA) Bolstering political, economic, and people-to-people relations with Taiwan is “in the best interest of the European Union,” visiting member of the European Parliament Andrey Kovatchev told President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in Taipei Wednesday.
Kovatchev, who is leading a European Parliament delegation to Taiwan from Oct. 30 to Nov. 4, made the comment at the Presidential Office, adding that relations between Taiwan the EU are characterized by common democratic values and technologically advanced economies.
“We stand firmly against any attempts to modify the status quo [in the Taiwan Strait]especially when it involves the use of force” and “military threats,” the Bulgarian MEP said.
According to Kovatchev, the EU’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the war between Israel and the Hamas militant group demonstrated its “commitment” to resolving conflicts by peaceful means.
At the same time, he expressed support for a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) between Taiwan and the EU, saying such a pact would not only “enhance trade, promote investment flow and foster collaborations across various sectors” but also “serve as a testament [to] our support for Taiwan.”
The European Commission should continue expanding economic and investment ties with Taiwan, he added, describing Taiwan as “a key partner for the EU” because of its economic development and technological innovation.
The Tsai administration has on multiple occasions expressed its desire to negotiate a BIA with the EU, saying such a deal would “bolster the investment competence of Taiwanese and European businesses.”
However, the EU has shown hesitancy in pushing for progress on the matter, with an official from the European External Action Service noting earlier this year that a BIA between the two sides was not necessary.
In addition, Kovatchev went on, his delegation, whose current visit marks the third consecutive year the European Parliament has sent an official group to Taiwan, “strongly advocates” Taiwan’s bid to take part in the international community.
Taiwan’s inclusion in the WHO, ICAO, INTERPOL and the United Nations’ initiative on combating climate change would be beneficial to the world, he said, adding that its being left out of these organizations “contradicts [their] principles of inclusiveness and cooperation.”
Meanwhile, Tsai said she looks forward to seeing more exchanges between Taiwan and the EU in fields such as trade and economics, technology, and regional security.
Taiwan is “a reliable partner for the EU” as the bloc steps up efforts to promote semiconductor technology research and development, Tsai said, adding that the two sides should work together to “create more resilient democratic supply chains.”
Also in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting were MEPs Ivan Štefanec and Leopoldo López Gil, both of whom, along with Kovatchev, are also members of the European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group.
(By Teng Pei-ju)