Oct 18, 2019

Taiwan: European Supporters Group Established

On Wednesday [10/16/2019] a group composed of MEPs and national parliamentarians in Europe inaugurated a European supporters group, called the “the Formosa Club” to strengthen connections with Taiwan and support it in the face of growing anti-Taiwan pressure from the Peoples Republic of China, most-recently resulting in the severing of diplomatic relations with Taiwan by the governments of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati.  The club also aspires to create economic bridges in particular for renewable energies and digital commerce and to promote shared principles such as the rule of law and human rights.

The article below was published by Focus Taiwan:

Taipei, Brussels, Oct. 17 (CNA) A group composed of members of the European Parliament and three other national parliaments in Europe was established Wednesday to support Taiwan in the face of China's growing suppression, Taiwan's foreign ministry said Thursday.

"The Formosa Club was inaugurated in the European Parliament on Oct. 16," Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said at a regular press briefing.

The Formosa Club includes members of the Taiwan Friendship groups in the European Parliament and the parliaments of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, she said.

In a joint statement, the chairmen of the four friendship groups said the Formosa Club was established to enhance cross-border support for Taiwan and to forge stronger ties between Taiwan, the European Union, and like-minded European countries.

It also aims to promote shared values, including freedom, democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights, and to help boost trade and investment for all sides, especially in the areas of renewable energy and digital economy, according to the statement.

At a launch ceremony, Michael Gahler, chairman of the European Parliament Taiwan Friendship Group, reaffirmed support for Taiwan amid suppression by China.

He also urged the European Commission and Council of Europe to back Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organizations.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Deputy Foreign Minister Kelly Hsieh (謝武樵) said at the launch that the friendship of the EU parliaments is important, particularly at a time when Taiwan's democracy is facing threats from outside.

In April, the Taiwan friendship groups in the EU wrote a joint letter to World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stating their support for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly.

According to MOFA, the idea of an inter-parliamentary club to support Taiwan was initiated in July, as the leaders of the Taiwan friendship groups saw China's increasing coercion of Taiwan as a serious threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the rest of the region.

China has been trying to squeeze Taiwan's international space by blocking its participation in international organizations, and in September Beijing poached two of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the Pacific -- the Solomon Islands and Kiribati -- ahead of China's National Day celebrations.

(By Emerson Lim and Tang Pei-chun)