Taiwan–European Union relations

Taiwan–European Union relations refers to the informal international relations between Taiwan (officially known as the Republic of China), and the European Union (EU).

Taiwanese-European relations



The EU's relations with Taiwan are informed by their shared democratic tradition and close high-tech economic ties.[1] While historically economic relations have been significant they were often overshadowed by the EU's relations with larger trading partners like Japan and the US, more recently relations with Taiwan have been overshadowed by booming economic opportunities in China.[2]

Relations between the EU and Taiwan are complicated by the fact that all EU member states recognize the People's Republic of China (PRC) as the sole sovereign state under the name 'China'.[3] The EU manages the European Economic and Trade Office in Taipei, while the ROC operates the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium in Brussels.


Back in 2001, the EU Commission referred Taiwan as a "separate customs territory, but not as a sovereign state", highlighting the role of Taiwan as autonomous economic entity for the purposes of the establishment of relations with the European Union.[4]

In 2009 there were more than 30,000 Taiwanese students studying in Europe. Also in 2009 the EU opened a European Union Centre in Taiwan.[5]

Filip Grzegorzewski took over as the chief of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taiwan in September 2019.[6]

In April 2020 European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted her appreciation for Taiwan's donation of 5.6 million masks to EU countries to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak.[7]

In December 2020 European Parliament vice president Nicola Beer announced her intention to visit Taiwan as soon as the global COVID-19 pandemic allowed.[8]

In January 2021, the European Parliament passed two Taiwan related resolutions. Within, the EU Parliament affirmed that "the Union will remain vigilant regarding the situation in Taiwan and the upgrading of political and trade relations between the EU and the Republic of China (Taiwan)". The Parliament called "for the EU and its Member States to revisit their engagement policy with Taiwan." In addition, the EU Parliament here advocated Taiwan's continued and increased participation in international organizations. It also acknowledged and criticized the increased military provocation by the People's Republic of China in and around Taiwanese territory. The EU Parliament called for the status quo of Taiwan's defacto independence not to be changed unilaterally. In this context, the resolution also included a warning "against Chinese efforts towards stronger power projection in the region."[9][10]


In 2018 bilateral trade between Taiwan and the EU stood at 51.9 billion euros (US$58.1 billion).[11]

Security cooperation

In 2011 and 2012 Taiwan worked with the EU's Naval Force in Operation Atalanta to counter piracy off the coast of Somalia. Since then exchanges and information sharing has continued, between 2011 and 2015 EU anti-piracy officials made five visits to Taiwan.[12]


  1. Dekker, Brigitte. "WHY THE EU SHOULD PAY MORE ATTENTION TO TAIWAN". www.clingendael.org. Clingendael. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  2. Ash, Robert (March 2002). "Economic Relations between Taiwan and Europe". The China Quarterly. 169 (169): 154–180. doi:10.1017/S0009443902000104. JSTOR 4618710.
  3. Lim & Winkler 2012, p. 170.
  4. Lim, Paul; Winkler, Sigrid (2012). "The European Union's Relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan)". In Damm, Jens; Lim, Paul (eds.). European Perspectives on Taiwan. Springer VS. p. 179. doi:10.1007/978-3-531-94303-9. ISBN 978-3-531-18580-4.
  5. Peter Cramer, N. "Why Taiwan-EU relations are improving". www.europeanbusinessreview.eu. European Business Review. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  6. Hou, Elaine; Hsin-Yin, Lee. "EU envoy looking to attract more Taiwan investment to Europe". focustaiwan.tw. Focus Taiwan. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  7. Hutt, David. "Taiwan sees doors open in Europe as virus response earns respect". asia.nikkei.com. Nikkei Asia Review. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  8. Wang, Flor; Pei-chun, Tang. "European Parliament vice president hoping to visit Taiwan". focustaiwan.tw. Focus Taiwan. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  9. European Parliament. "European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2020 on the implementation of the common security and defence policy – annual report (2019/2135(INI))". www.europarl.europa.eu. European Parliament. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  10. European Parliament. "European Parliament resolution of 20 January 2021 on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy – annual report 2020 (2020/2206(INI))". www.europarl.europa.eu. European Parliament. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  11. "Taiwan-EU relations report spotlights flourishing economic ties". taiwantoday.tw. Taiwan Today. 17 July 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  12. Glaser, Bonnie S.; Vitello, Jacqueline A. "Taiwan's Marginalized Role in International Security" (PDF). csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com. Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved 16 November 2020.