Go TO Content

Sep 06, 2012, No. 073

  • Date:2012-09-06

EU political circles congratulate President Ma on success of Mainland policy and believe Taiwan is a key force for regional stabilization No. 073 September 6, 2012 Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Lai Shin-yuan concluded her visit to the European Union (EU) capital of Belgium on the morning of September 6, 2012 (local time) and proceeded to London. During the visit, Minister Lai delivered speeches at the European Parliament (EP) and EU think tanks. She also met with EP Vice-President Edward McMillan-Scott, Chair of the EP's Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok, leader of the Conservative Party in the EP Martin Callanan, group coordinator of the European People's Party in the EP's Committee on Foreign Affairs José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, and other senior EU officials. Minister Lai said that during the short but packed three-day trip, she met with a broad range of high-level EU political figures. Since it was her second visit to the EU, Minister Lai was able to engage in deeper discussions with key political figures based on the foundation built during her last visit. Influential high-level statesmen in the EU all told Minister Lai that relaxation and improvements in cross-strait relations have upgraded Taiwan's visibility in Europe and are conducive to expanding relations between Taiwan and Europe. Many EU political figures asked Minister Lai to convey congratulations to President Ma Ying-jeou on success of his Mainland policy. They believed that President Ma's conviction and commitment to promoting cross-strait rapprochement has set an important example at a time of frequent disputes in East Asia, and it will be a key stabilizing force in the region. Minister Lai summed up other important achievements of her visit to Europe as follows: 1. The successful experience of the ROC government's Mainland policy has been well received in EU political circles. Some high-level political figures in the EU said that President Ma's Mainland policy is the correct and only path to promote cross-strait rapprochement. 2. Many members of the European Parliament (MEPs) attending Minister Lai's lecture publicly expressed congratulations and belief that the success of the government's Mainland policy is heartening good news for the world. They described President Ma as a leader of good reputation in the world due to the correct direction of his Mainland policy. 3. Many MEPs agreed that Taiwan's core values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law form a key force in the cross-strait joint promotion process of reconciliation and exchanges. In her speech at the EP, Minister Lai introduced President Ma's proposal of the "Golden Decade, National Vision: Cross-Strait Peace" which advocates developing Taiwan's soft power to promote mutual upgrading of civil society on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. The attending EU parliamentarians unanimously agreed with this position. Moreover, they expressed interest in how visits by Mainland tourists and students to Taiwan are affecting cross-strait relations. They also stated that the further deepening of interactions across the Taiwan Strait will be beneficial to the cross-strait political and economic transformation and mutual upgrading of protection for people’s rights and interests. 4. MEPs across parties all agreed that the EU should more actively promote discussions with Taiwan on signing an economic cooperation agreement (ECA) to expand and deepen economic exchanges and cooperation between the two sides. They believe that by doing so, the EU will be able to jointly share, with Taiwan and the Mainland, the peace dividend from cross-strait rapprochement. At the same time, a Taiwan-EU ECA will not only benefit Taiwan and Europe, but also be a positive factor for mainland China's economic development. 5. With regard to Taiwan's participation in important international organizations and activities such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and World Health Organization, the EU parliamentarians generally held a positive attitude and expressed willingness to continue supporting Taiwan's position. They believed that, thanks to the considerable efforts made by Taiwan's Representative Office in the European Union and Belgium, there is already a high-level of consensus in the EP. They also expressed hope that cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and Europe in the economic, trade, and environmental protection fields can be deepened so that the Republic of China and Europe can jointly contribute more to the international community. Minister Lai expressed particular gratitude to Taiwan's Representative to the EU and Belgium, David Y.L. Lin, thanking him and his colleagues at the Office for carefully cultivating European diplomacy work and meticulously arranging this visit. She stated that the scope and depth of her interactions with various circles in the EU this time attests to the outstanding results achieved by the staff of Representative Office through proactive handling of related affairs. Minister Lai said that on this trip to Europe, she again felt that President Ma's Mainland policy has attracted the attention of EU political circles, academia, and the media, to the influence of Taiwan experience and ways of life on mainland China. The results of joint promotion of cross-strait rapprochement by the two sides and President Ma's flexible diplomacy have been a mutual blessing that has raised Taiwan's visibility in Europe and strengthened Taiwan's position in the international political arena.