【2023 Europe Festival】 Europe Day is a day we celebrate the European peace, unity, diversity and prosperity. Ａs the Russian war in Ukraine continues, the spirit of the EU is even more relevant today. To mark this important day, the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) and the 16 EU Member States Offices in Taiwan, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture, and the Taipei City Government are co-hosting the 2023 Europe Festival again this year. We invite you all to come and learn more about the European Union and celebrate the grand 20th anniversary of EETO in Taiwan with us and with all the amazing food, wine, and performances at Huashan Creative Park. There will be German sausages, Belgian waffles, Spainish Jamon, Italian gelato, and so many other mouthwatering European food waiting for you. INFORMATIOＮ： Time: 6-7 May 11:00-18:00 Venue: Huashan Creative Park Northern Grassland For more information on the Festival, follow the Facebook event page : 歐洲節 Europe Festival EETO FB Link: https://www.facebook.com/euintaiwan/?locale=zh_TW
Last Tuesday (11/04/2023), the Programme in European Union Studies invited Professor Claudio Cressati from University of Udine, Italy, to deliver a speech on the topic of “Europe at the Crossroads. How to deepen integration and avoid marginalization on the global stage?” Professor started by introducing the different theories of integration and the core characteristics of EU governance. Despite the well-established democratic mechanism in the Union, it has faced significant challenges over the years, including the issue of precarious legitimacy. On the other hand, professor Cressati emphasized that such challenges also spurred further integration in Europe. The Covid Crisis, for instance, highlighted the intergovernmental effort to overcome the limit of the treaties to respond to the challenge. However, under current EU structure, the lack of power in the EU institutions to intervene in spheres that is kept on a national level remains a big challenge. Politicians’ reluctance to yield power to the European Union level has resulted in a gradual erosion of trust between EU and EU citizens. Professor Cressati came up with two solutions that EU could adopt, “strengthening EU competences” and “reforming institutional structures”. Professor Cressati proposed some changes aimed at transforming the Commission into a “real” European government. These changes include replacing unanimity with a qualified majority voting system, giving the Union the authority to impose taxes, introducing a bicameral system into the European Parliament, granting the right for European Parliament to submit legislative proposal, as well as strengthening the “Spitzenkandidaten” system to allow more autonomy for the Parliament in the process of appointing the president and other members in the Commission. Despite the difficulty in institutional reform, Professor Cresatti is confident in the future of the European Union. Throughout its history, EU has proven its resilience by overcoming numerous crises over the years, through modifications and negotiations between the member states and the institutions. It has brought peace for over half a century, and has achieved an unprecedented level of integration between member states. As Jean Monet once said, “Europe will be forged in crisis, and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises.”
On March 28, 2023, the Programme in European Studies at the College of International Affairs visited the European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan (EETO), during which the students had an in-depth conversation and discussion with Mr. Filip Grzegorzewski, the head of the office. The meeting focused mainly on the exchange of ideas concerning EU affairs and EU’s presence in Taiwan. The students also received a presentation on EU-Taiwan relations and the EU’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, providing them with a greater understanding of the economic and political landscape between EU and Taiwan. Mr. Grzegorzewski started the meeting by addressing a wide range of questions raised by both local and international students. During the session, he stressed the significance of shared values between EU and Taiwan, as they form the foundation of EU-Taiwan cooperation. Due to the like-mindedness of both parties, the EU and Taiwan are “natural partners”, and this can be leveraged to further deepen bilateral relations. Furthermore, Mr. Grzegorzewski complimented Taiwan’s diplomatic efforts, particularly on our parliamentary diplomacy and how we promote our values to other states, which enables Taiwan to engage more fully with the international community despite the challenges ahead. The current visit of the delegation from Czech Republic serves as a prime example of this. In terms of EU-Taiwan relations, Mr. Grzegorzewski maintains a positive outlook and shared recent cooperation between the two on various subjects, such as, trade, combating disinformation and promoting human rights. One example is the annual EU Investment Forum which provides Taiwanese companies with opportunities to invest in Europe. Not only does the Forum aims to attract Taiwanese companies, he also emphasized that this initiative serves Taiwan's interests by promoting trade diversification, given that foreign direct investment in China currently accounts for 42% of Taiwan's total investment, which is considered a weakness regarding the current Cross Strait situation. Moreover, European Union has emerged as a significant investor in Taiwan, as “a superpower in investment”. However, Taiwan's investment in the EU is relatively small. Therefore, the Investment Forum seeks to address this gap by encouraging Taiwanese companies to consider investment opportunities in Europe, which could ultimately benefit Taiwan's economy. EU’s One-China policy and Indo-Pacific Strategy were also important topics discussed during the meeting. With Taiwan being mentioned in the documents for the first time ever, bilateral relations between Taiwan and EU have been elevated to a new level. Despite the pressures from Beijing, Mr. Grzegorzewski emphasized the importance of developing positive contacts with Taiwan to ensure a safe environment, and ultimately, seeking for a peaceful resolution for Cross Strait relations. This underlines the EU's commitment to an “inclusive” Indo-Pacific strategy and to working with Taiwan to promote stability and security in the region. The meeting covered a wide range of topics and the students were highly engaged throughout. Mr. Grzegorzewski was impressed by the level of participation and the students' knowledge of the European Union. Students also provided positive feedback, describing the visit as interesting, insightful, and informative. It offered students who are interested in international relations or aspire to work in the field of diplomacy an excellent platform to gain first-hand information on diplomatic work and deepen their understanding of the EU and its relationship with Taiwan.
On Wednesday (15/03/2023), a webinar hosted by Singapore Management University, King’s College London, and National Chengchi University, brought together professional practitioners and academic professors to discuss the current and future state of EU’s presence in Southeast Asia and its relation with ASEAN. “The relation was built under times of great uncertainty and vulnerability in the region, do not let rivalry divide them.” – Professor Lay Hwee Yeo The growing tension between the US-China relationship in recent years has altered the international power structure. Since EU released its Indo Pacific Strategy back in 2021, the relations between EU and ASEAN have been taken to another geopolitical level. Professor Lay Hwee Yeo, the director of EU Center in Singapore, identified three primary reasons why the European Union is intensifying its relation with Indo Pacific. Besides the competition between US and China, the economic potential of ASEAN community has heightened the EU’s consciousness of the need for further collaboration to increase supply chain resilience and reduce economic dependency. Additionally, the strained relationship between EU and the United States during the Trump Administration compelled the EU to strengthen its own strategic autonomy concerning security. However, with the ongoing war in Ukraine reinvigorates the bond between Europe and the United States, Professor Yeo concluded that EU may face a decision regarding future cooperation: either work with the US and become a junior partner, or together with ASEAN, create a multilateral world order that fosters an open and complex governance system. “As long as the general strategy remains the same, there is still room for compromise and negotiation for future collaborations.” During the discussion session, Professor Cho-Hsin Su, the director of the Program in European Studies at National Chengchi University, raised questions about the probable hurdles in this bilateral relation. Among a variety of other challenges, the panel underscored the significant disparities in ideology and norms. The panel agreed that it is essential to prioritize “equal partnership through principled pragmatism.” Professor Christophe Jaffrelot, the director of the Indo-Pacific Research Group of King’s College London, also referred to the “third way” utilized by the European Union to encourage forms of collaboration on issues that could be difficult to reach a consensus on such as, the privacy of personal data in digital economy. Furthermore, due to the different levels of ambition and development between the two regions, the trade negotiations between EU and ASEAN states would require a different approach. Professor Yeo proposed that reaching “sectoral agreement” individually could be a more appropriate course of action. Yet the panel remained optimistic towards future collaboration between the EU and ASEAN through a non-confrontational approach. Professor Su highlighted that the relation has turned from an asymmetric donor-recipient relation to a more symmetric one which allows for deeper and more concrete cooperation on nontraditional security and sustainability issues, such as open ocean governance, sustainable fishery, and green transition.” As long as the general strategy remains the same, there is still room for compromise and negotiation for future collaborations.