On the morning of July 20, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by European Parliament Vice President Nicola Beer. In remarks, President Tsai thanked the European Parliament for closely following Taiwan-related issues and passing many resolutions supporting Taiwan. The president stated that Taiwan and the European Union are like-minded partners, and expressed hope that our two sides can accelerate progress toward a bilateral investment agreement to further improve the well-being of our peoples and to jointly create a resilient democratic alliance.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
I offer you a very warm welcome to the Presidential Office. As the first high-level official delegation to Taiwan from the European Parliament, your visit is exceptionally significant to the deepening of our bilateral relationship. Vice President Beer is a good friend of Taiwan and has long spoken up for Taiwan in the European Parliament. In addition to supporting Taiwan's international participation, Vice President Beer also recognizes the great importance of developing peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
With the support of Vice President Beer and her fellow MEPs, the European Parliament has increased its focus on Taiwan-related issues in the past few years. Since January 2021, the European Parliament has passed 20 resolutions supporting Taiwan. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I would like to take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Vice President Beer.
Taiwan and the EU are like-minded partners, and continue to strengthen cooperation and exchange in all areas. In particular, in terms of our economic and trade relationship, the EU has long been Taiwan's largest source of foreign direct investment. And last year, Taiwanese investment in Europe hit a record high. Earlier this month, the European Parliament passed a resolution in support of continuing to deepen economic relations between Taiwan and the EU and strengthening supply chain collaboration.
The European Green Deal and digital transformation plan currently being implemented by the EU are also well aligned with the way in which Taiwan is actively developing its strategic industries. Earlier this year, I proposed the Taiwan-Europe Connectivity Initiative. I hope that Taiwan and the EU can build an even stronger partnership and accelerate progress toward a bilateral investment agreement. This would help further improve the well-being of our peoples.
In addition, faced with the expansion of authoritarianism, Taiwan stands on the frontline of defending democracy. We are willing and able to share our experiences with the world. We also look forward to strengthening cooperation with fellow democracies to jointly create a resilient democratic alliance.
In closing, I want to welcome you all once again. Let's work to advance bilateral relations between Taiwan and the EU, and together contribute even more to upholding our free and democratic way of life. Thank you!
European Parliament Vice President Nicola Beer then delivered remarks, a transcript of which follows:
President Tsai, thank you very much for welcoming us here. I just can express also the warm welcomes from our President Roberta Metsola. In exchange, it's really an honor, and I really appreciate to have the chance to be here today on Taiwanese soil.
And any line of the resolutions we pass as European Parliament – [as] you just mentioned – any line is really by [the] conviction of the European Parliament, but also on my personal side. Taiwan, as far as it [is] from Europe in kilometers, [is] as close it is to our hearts and to our shared common values. I'm myself coming from a family in Germany which was divided, where, in my family, we had this personal feeling of being threaten[ed] by authoritarian regimes. And so I can really see how you are feeling here in Taiwan towards the threatening you are living [with] each day.
You as a society, you choose for a democratic system from the bottom up. This is something your citizens are sharing, besides all political difference, which may be there in the different political parties, but Taiwan has to stay a vibrant, a lively, a democratic system. And this aspiring, vibrant, and self-confident democracy strives for enabling and securing its citizens a life of free speech, economic prosperity, and self-determined lives. Diversity could also be a Taiwanese word. You are really living that, and it's really appreciated how you have policy towards any minority and any minority right in this country.
Europe leaves no doubt towards this attitude, deserving full support and recognition. Taiwan matters on a global scale. Its know-how is key around the globe. Taiwan deserves to play this role as a global strategic, responsible, and reliable international partner to the full, be it as an observer in the World Health Assembly; be it with an own bilateral investment agreement between [the] EU and Taiwan; be it as an upgrade for our European economic representation in Taiwan.
Taiwan's global appeal deserves international reflection as part of a new strong belt of like-minded democracies around the globe. And the European Parliament strives for a deepening, consolidating, and diversifying policy of our mutual relations. Our common ground of like-minded values and goals for our respective societies are a perfect match. Let's build on that.
Together with you, we are working for peace and stability in the region. So we stand up against any provocation or threatening of the status quo. We want to continue also having good relations to the People's Republic of China. But let me express clearly Europe's deep and serious concern about China moving in a direction that could unilaterally alter the status quo. This must not happen, under no circumstances, under no pretexts. Only the Taiwanese people can decide on [the] Taiwanese future. We call on the People's Republic of China to refrain from its threatening gestures. We admonish China not to destroy Taiwan's blossoming, but to take an active and constructive part in maintaining and securing the current status quo based on mutual and respectful dialogue.
Taiwan, in all its strengths, dignity, and potential, must have the assured power of free and peaceful development, thriving for a democratic society, rooted in a vital civil society. Don't doubt Europe's reassurance in your thrive [sic] for a democratic, peaceful, and sovereign [existence]. Expressing this wish, contributing to fulfill it – this is really [the] conviction of [the] European Parliament, and on my personal conviction as well – for peace, security, and stability in the region, for Taiwan, Europe, and the world. Thank you.