Elections in Taiwan: What’s at Stake for the European Union?

On 13 January 2024, the Taiwanese Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secured the island’s presidency with 40% of the vote, simultaneously losing its majority in the concurrent elections for the Legislative Yuan, its parliament. The historic election, coming at the end point of a bitterly contested 3-way race between the DPP, its historical rival Kuomintang (KMT), and the novel Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), was marked by political polarisation, the proliferation of fake news, and Chinese attempts to influence the election towards the relatively China-friendly KMT. While the world worries about escalation in the Taiwan strait, a crucial gateway for commerce for both China and the European Union (EU), the reactions to the DPP’s win suggest that the next 4 years of DPP governance may herald few seismic changes in Taiwan’s relationship with China, the United States, and the EU.

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Eyes on the Taiwan Strait: Affirming EU-Taiwan Trade Relations Through a Security Lens

In an ever-changing geopolitical climate, trade relations between the EU and Taiwan are being viewed through a microscope. Rising tensions between China and the United States have increasingly made security across the Taiwan Strait a top priority for EU lawmakers, which has become evident in the EU’s 2021 Indo-Pacific Strategy and its implementation. Taiwan is a vital economic trade partner for the EU and by assessing the history, trends, and current status of the trade relationship between the two partners, the EU can do better to economically engage with Taiwan in the future. Remaining a partner in East Asia in promoting shared values such as “democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law”, Taiwan and the EU are looking for channels to affirm their trade relationship in an increasingly delicate geopolitical climate.

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