MEPs speak up for Taiwan at opening of expo in EU parliament

Martin Banks

MEPs have thrown their weight behind Taiwan in its ongoing sovereignty dispute with China.

Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Speaking at an event in the European Parliament, Slovak MEP Ivan Stefanec said, “Currently we live in turbulent times, we have to face criminal aggression, and increased Chinese threats to our friends in Taiwan. We are not living in easy times, but on top of that it is very, very important for democracies to stand together and express our mutual cooperation.”

He was attending the Taiwan orchid exhibition event in parliament, which he called an “extraordinary exhibition” hosted by Taiwan.

The MEP is co-host of the exhibition and he said, “I very much appreciate this beautiful exhibition which is based on flowers. The orchids symbolize freedom, courage and patience, which is very important values we share. In the corner is the painting of a Slovak hero Jan Kuciak. 

“He was a journalist and he shared the same passion of courage, love and freedom. This is also evidence of how common our values are. So thank you very much for coming, enjoy the exhibition. I’m looking forward to our cooperation and I’m absolutely sure that we are stronger together. Let this exhibition be the expression of improved friendship between Europeans and the Taiwanese.”

Further comment came from German MEP Michael Gahler, who is chairman of the Taiwan Friendship Group in the European Parliament.

He told the gathering, “I believe we only have one slot in one legislature to use one of the sites here, and Taiwan was chosen. I as the Chairman of the Taiwan Friendship Group, am very grateful for that.”

He added, “What we see in this exhibition is just breathtaking. 

“We are in difficult times and I am also the standing rapporteur on Ukraine here. I am very sure that the way that we stand as united democracies in support of Ukraine, will also make an impression on China, and its policies toward Taiwan. So if we are strong in support of Ukraine, and if we strengthen our links with Taiwan in multiple ways, it will hopefully make an impression on the dictators of this world, in order not to fulfill their long term ambitions. 

Ivan Stefanec

“Let us in this way of support, cooperation and friendship, enjoy this beautiful exhibition.” 

The event was also attended by Taiwan’s new ambassador to the EU, Remus Li Kuo Chen who said, “In terms of perseverance, Taiwan and its people are determined to safeguard our democratic, free and open ways of life, and strive to be a responsible member of the international community. 

“On this note, we would like to take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude to the European Parliament, for its enduring friendship and staunch support for Taiwan’s international participation, as well as for supporting peace and security in the Taiwan Strait.

“In particular, the recommendation on EU-Taiwan political relations and cooperation, which was adopted with overwhelming majority on 21 October last year, as well as the resolution on the situation in the Strait of Taiwan on 15 September this year.”

He added, “Through deepened cooperation with like-minded partners, such as our friends in the European Union and its Member States, we shall continue to preserve peace, stability and prosperity.”

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Martin Banks is an experienced British-born journalist who has been covering the EU beat (and much else besides) in Brussels since 2001. Previously, he had worked for many years in regional journalism in the UK and freelanced for national titles. He has a keen interest in foreign affairs and has closely followed the workings of the European Parliament and MEPs in particular for some years.