On the evening of May 25, President Tsai Ing-wen attended the 2023 Europe Day Dinner. In remarks, President Tsai pointed out that the theme for the event, "Strengthening Taiwan's Resilience," symbolizes our enduring partnership and celebrates the European business community's contributions to Taiwan's growth and resilience in the face of many challenges. The president stated that from policy to diplomacy, Taiwan-Europe cooperation has continued to grow, especially in recent years, and that our relationship is strong because we share democratic values and hold common goals, adding that she looks forward to seeing even greater progress in our cooperation in the years to come.
A transcript of President Tsai's remarks follows:
This is the seventh time I attend this event hosted by the ECCT (European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan), and I have not missed a single dinner during my time as president.
I see many familiar faces here. In fact, just this March, I met with many representatives of EU member states who are here with us tonight. It's great to see you all again.
Since the last time we met here, the ECCT has elected its 2023 chairman and board members. Mr. [Giuseppe] Izzo, let me congratulate you on your reelection as ECCT chairman and thank you for the invitation. Having known Chairman Izzo for so many years, I am confident that under his leadership, the ECCT will continue to grow and thrive.
And I would also like to express my thanks to Representative [Filip] Grzegorzewski. Since 2019, he has been a tireless supporter of the Taiwan-EU partnership. And his efforts have given momentum to our cooperation as we move forward post-pandemic.
The theme for tonight is "Strengthening Taiwan's Resilience." This symbolizes our enduring partnership, and celebrates the European business community's contributions to Taiwan's growth and resilience in the face of many challenges.
Without a doubt, the past few years have been challenging for Taiwan, for Europe, and for the entire world in many ways. We have witnessed the pandemic, supply chain disruptions, inflation, and intensifying climate change. All the while, rising authoritarianism has made the challenges even more serious, with Ukraine still fighting against Russia's invasion.
We have nevertheless met these challenges and persevered, and we have emerged as stronger, more resilient partners. From policy to diplomacy, Taiwan-Europe cooperation has continued to grow, especially in recent years.
In 2021, the EU launched its Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, which emphasizes the importance of the region to global stability, and encourages cooperation with Taiwan. At the beginning of this year, the European Parliament passed the European Chips Act, laying a strong foundation for the Taiwan-EU partnership in strengthening the security of chip supply as well as addressing supply chain resiliency.
As part of the Taiwan-Europe Connectivity Initiative that I announced last year, Taiwan has established the Central and Eastern European Investment Fund and associated financial mechanisms, to reinforce economic ties in strategic industries such as biotechnology and electric vehicles. As an example, in Lithuania, the fund is used to spur cooperation between Taiwan and Lithuanian businesses in the development of lasers and biotechnology. Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also provide €10 million in three years, beginning from this year, to establish semiconductor cooperation in Lithuania.
Our efforts to develop the Six Core Strategic Industries and our policies to transition to net-zero emissions align well with the EU's Green Deal and digital strategy. As energy security and climate change are challenges to any economy, European companies' investments in the green energy sector have been instrumental to the development of wind power, especially offshore wind power, in Taiwan. The largest wind farm so far, which is with European investment, that is Formosa 2, began operations earlier this month.
In this regard, I would like to thank the ECCT for its Low-Carbon Initiative (LCI) that promotes awareness and solutions to help Taiwan reduce its carbon emissions. And I am aware of the recent growth in LCI membership, which I believe coincides with the increase in European firms' participation in our green energy sector.
Last year, we saw unprecedented support for Taiwan from the parliaments of the EU and its member states, with over 30 resolutions, motions, and statements, and more than 15 European visiting delegations as well.
This year, we have already received many delegations from Europe, including those from France, Sweden, and the UK. Just over a month ago, we welcomed the largest European delegation from the Czech Republic, with over 150 members.
In addition, over the past few months, several European leaders have voiced support for peace in the region. European Commission President [Ursula] von der Leyen stated that the stability of the Taiwan Strait is of paramount importance. And EU High Representative [Josep] Borrell emphasized how crucial it is to maintain peace in the region.
I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for these powerful demonstrations of solidarity. Not only do they mean a lot to Taiwan; they help inspire confidence for broader support.
European leaders recognize that the Taiwan Strait is one of the most strategically important waterways in the world, with approximately half of global container ships passing through it each year. Support for a resilient Taiwan and maintaining peace across the Taiwan Strait are therefore key to global prosperity.
Last year, trade between Taiwan and Europe continued to grow, totaling US$92 billion, the cumulative investment by European businesses in Taiwan exceeded US$55 billion. The EU now is Taiwan's largest source of foreign investment.
These numbers are testament to our thriving economic connections, as well as a reminder of their immense potential. We hope to continue to widen the horizons for cooperation by negotiating a bilateral investment agreement, which would not only bring us closer economically, but also help ensure the security of Taiwan, Europe, and the world.
Our relationship is strong because we share democratic values and hold common goals. We attach great importance to human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. And it is these values that allow us to collaborate so effectively and to prosper together.
The importance of such cooperation among democracies cannot be stressed enough as we prepare for the challenges ahead. But our collective strength gives us hope for a more secure and prosperous future.
Once again, let me thank Chairman Izzo, Representative Grzegorzewski, and all the European representatives for your unwavering support for our partnership. I wish you all an enjoyable evening and look forward to seeing even greater progress in our cooperation in the years to come. Thank you.