Taipei, European Union (EU) officials will visit Taiwan in September to review the country's ongoing efforts to curb illegal fishing before deciding whether to lift the "yellow card" imposed on Taiwan in late 2015, the top EU representative to Taiwan said Wednesday.
Taiwan was placed on the EU's "yellow card" warning list for insufficient cooperation in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in October 2015. Since then, EU officials have visited the country every six months to inspect progress made by local authorities in this area. The most recent trip concluded on March 21.
Asked when the EU might lift the warning, Madeleine Majorenko, head of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO), told reporters that her colleagues had discussed the issue with local officials during their just concluded two-week trip.
She said Taiwan has made significant progress over the past two years but more needs to be done before the EU will consider lifting the yellow card.
"When we started this process two years ago we had a very long list of things that Taiwan needs to do. When our colleagues left in March, they had a short list of things to do, but there is still a list of things to do," she said.
If everything goes well during the September inspection tour, especially if Taiwan shows that not only is there a comprehensive infrastructure in place but it is actually "enforcing the rules," Majorenko said maybe Taiwan's yellow card status could change.
Majorenko made the comments on the sideline of a forum on EU-Taiwan relations in Taipei.
The half-day forum titled "30 years of EU-Taiwan Relations: Review and Prospect" co-organized by the Taiwan government and EETO, was held to mark the 30th EU-Taiwan Annual Consultations, as well as the 15th anniversary of the establishment of EETO, which represents EU interests in Taiwan.
Neena Gill, a British Labour Party politician and a member of the European Parliament, was also invited to make a keynote speech at the forum on the history and outlook for EU-Taiwan relations.
In her opening address, Majorenko said the EETO was founded in 2003 with only one staff member and a small office. Now 15 years later, the office, originally a liaison office that focused only on economic exchanges with Taiwan, has grown into a 12-member full-fledged representative office.
EU and Taiwan relations have improved significantly over the past three decades and the two sides have worked closely on various fronts, she added.
EETO noted that the EU is Taiwan's fifth-largest trade partner. Both sides also work closely in terms of technology, health, climate change, circular economy, fisheries, anti-piracy, education, homeland security and human rights.
In his address, Deputy Foreign Minister Francois Wu (???) said aside from celebrating the 15th anniversary of the founding of EETO, this year also marks the 30th anniversary for EU-Taiwan annual consultations.
Wu expressed hope that Taiwan-EU relations will continue to explore further opportunities based on the current strong foundation as both sides share the same core values of democracy and human rights.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel