MEPs will weigh every word, while the heads of diplomacy from the G7 countries, who arrived in Karuizawa (Japan) on Sunday, are due to discuss China’s growing pressure on Taiwan. The Community hemicycle, which emerges from a sequence of trips to Beijing for the least chaotic of several European leaders, intends to make things clear, at the end of the plenary session from April 17 to 20. MEPs have called for a priority debate after which the Council and the Commission will have to take a position on Tuesday 18 April.
Last weekend, China conducted military maneuvers around Taiwan, simulating attacks and a blockade of the island which it considers part of its territory. Shortly before, Emmanuel Macron, accompanied in China by the President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen, declared on his return that Europe should not be caught in “crises which would not be (his)”, irritating allies anxious not to weaken relations with Washington and to influence the situation in Taiwan.
A few days later, it was German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s turn to be welcomed in Beijing. “A military escalation in the Taiwan Strait would be a disaster scenario for the whole world”, she estimated, while the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, did not finally accompany her as planned, for cause of Covid-19.
The parliamentary session is an opportunity to tune the European violins. On January 18, the European Parliament had already reiterated, in a resolution, its request to “elaborate a strategy urgently” vis-à-vis an increasingly aggressive China with regard to Taiwan. In this text, the European hemicycle “strongly condemns the continued military provocations of the PRC against Taiwan, and once again firmly rejects any unilateral modification of the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. »
Learning lessons from Taiwan
Since 2021, the European Parliament has had an official delegation in Taiwan. “For fear of offending Beijing, the institution had never dared to take such a step before,” explains MEP Raphaël Glucksmann in his latest book, La Grande Confrontation (1). “We wanted to observe how the Taiwanese organized their resistance and see if some of their recipes could be transposed here,” he says, citing “military maneuvers, cyberattacks, information manipulation campaigns and bribery attempts from Beijing. »
Today, MEPs are recommending the secondment of a liaison officer to the European Economic and Trade Representation Office, in order to “coordinate joint efforts to combat disinformation and interference”.