European Council announces Indo-Pacific strategy

20 April, 2021

By ICRT and ECCT staff writers

The head of the European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan says the European Union's strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific is expected to provide more opportunities for cooperation between the EU and Taiwan.

According to Filip Grzegorzewski, the strategy is based on an inclusive approach, which means the EU is committed to cooperating with all partners in the region, including Taiwan, who share the same objectives."

The statement comes after the Council of the European Union adopted the EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific on 19 April.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou is welcoming the EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific - saying Taiwan will continue to undertake bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the EU.

According to a news release on the website of European Economic and Trade Office, the Council Conclusions on the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, which was adopted by 27 foreign ministers of the EU’s member states demonstrate the EU’s recognition of the growing importance of the region and its commitment to reinforcing its role in cooperation with its partners there.

According to the release, cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region is crucial to implementing the international community’s global agenda, including achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, the EU has every interest that the regional architecture remains open and rules-based. However current dynamics in the Indo-Pacific, have given rise to intense geopolitical competition, adding to increasing pressure on trade and supply chains as well as in tensions in technological, political and security areas. The universality of human rights is also being challenged. Sixty percent of world maritime trade passes through its oceans, including a third through the South China Sea. Its passages need to remain free and open.

This is why the EU’s Foreign Ministers have decided to reinforce the EU’s strategic focus, presence and actions in the Indo-Pacific. The approach and engagement will be principled with a long-term perspective, with the aim of contributing to the stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development of the region, based on the promotion of democracy, rule of law, human rights and international law.

This renewed commitment to the region is inclusive of all partners wishing to cooperate with the EU. The strategy is deliberately pragmatic, flexible and multi-faceted, allowing the EU to adapt and build its cooperation according to specific policy areas where partners can find common ground based on shared principles, values or mutual interest.

The EU will deepen its engagement on the Indo-Pacific, in particular with those partners that have already announced Indo-Pacific approaches of their own.

The adoption of the Council Conclusions allows the EU to enhance cooperation further in many areas such as ocean governance, health, research and technology, security and defence, connectivity, and strengthen working together on tackling global challenges such as climate change.

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