President Ma hopes to strengthen EU-Taiwan partnership

01-Oct-2015 Intellasia | CNA | 6:00 AM Print This Post

President Ma Ying-jeou (???) held a video conference with members of the European Parliament on Tuesday for the first time, saying that he is looking forward to a stronger partnership between the European Union and Taiwan.

“I think this is really a rare opportunity to meet with so many dignitaries in the European Parliament so that we could really discuss matters of mutual concern,” Ma said in his opening address at the conference, which was organised by Werner Langen, chair of the European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group.

Over the past seven years, Taiwan has signed 79 agreements and memorandums of understanding with the EU and European countries, covering technology, education, taxation, telecommunication, judicial assistance, youth working holiday programmes, food safety, innovation, and research and development, Ma said.

The EU has also been concerned about political and economic development in Taiwan, as the European Parliament and the European External Action Service have passed nine resolutions and issued 18 statements over the past seven years in support of developing peaceful cross-Taiwan Strait ties, expanding Taiwan’s international participation, and strengthening Taiwan-EU economic and trade cooperation, the president said.

“I sincerely hope that based on our current cultural, economic and scientific cooperation, we can use the existing consultant mechanism to continue to expand cooperation and enhance our outstanding partnership,” he said.

The president said that since the EU and China have been in talks about an investment agreement for almost two years, it is now a good time for the EU and Taiwan to start parallel talks on a bilateral investment agreement.

An EU-Taiwan bilateral investment agreement would have a “synergistic effect” on the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed in 2010 between Taiwan and China, Ma said.

“Taiwan and the EU share the universal values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and human rights,” he said. “I fully intend to work with the EU and its member states to strengthen Taiwan-EU relations, fostering an even closer and more solid partnership.”

“At the same time, Taiwan will continue to act as a peacemaker, working with all the countries in the Asia-Pacific region to maintain regional peace and prosperity,” the president said.

Following the success of Ma’s East China Sea Initiative, which was put forward in 2012 and led to a fisheries agreement between Taiwan and Japan in 2013, he proposed a South China Sea Initiative in May, advocating that China, Taiwan and the involved Asean countries shelve their differences over the disputed islands and waterways and instead negotiate to share the area’s resources.

Members of the European Parliament have welcomed Ma’s proposals of joint exploration and setting up coordination and cooperation mechanisms to address non-security issues such as environmental protection and scientific research in the disputed areas.


Category: Taiwan

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