EU representative hopes Taiwan can be part of European Green Deal

Brexit finally arrives Friday: A momentous yet quiet moment
An anti-Brexit campaigner waves European Union and Union flags outside Parliament in London, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. Britain officially leaves the European Union on Friday after a debilitating political period that has bitterly divided the nation since the 2016 Brexit referendum. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The European Union’s top representative to Taipei said Friday that he hopes Taiwan can join the European Green Deal, an EU initiative aimed at transitioning to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“Taiwan is a regional leader (in terms of green energy,) so we want Taiwan to be our partner also in the European Green Deal,” said Filip Grzegorzewski, head of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taiwan, in a radio interview.

Under the Green Deal, the EU plans to review its existing law on its climate merits, introduce new legislation on the circular economy, and expand biodiversity, farming and innovation, to make the continent a leader in terms of climate friendly industries and clean technologies.

Grzegorzewski said the EU also wants to convince other international players to join the green deal, by building coalitions and bringing in partners, which will give Taiwan an opportunity to work with the EU and in the international arena.

“We want to make it (the European Green Deal) part of our relationship with Taiwan, so we hope Taiwanese investors can benefit from the ambitious economic program in Europe,” he said, noting that green energy is one of the top priorities of the current Taiwan administration.

The EU and Taiwan are already working closely on offshore wind power, which is the main focus of Taiwan’s green energy efforts, Grzegorzewski said.

“The European Union is the most active foreign investor in Taiwan for offshore wind, and this is part of our green energy approach,” he said.

Meanwhile, the EU accounts for one-third of direct foreign investment in Taiwan and that is expected to increase by 20 percent within the next five years, said Grzegorzewski, whose office represents EU interests in Taiwan.

In comparison, only about 3 percent Taiwan’s foreign investment goes to the EU, which is “quite disappointing” but can be changed through closer cooperation between the two sides, he said.

As part an effort to attract more Taiwanese investors, EETO will host the first European Union Investment Forum, titled “Go Europe,” on March 17 in Taipei, Grzegorzewski said.

The EU, with its market of 500 million people without borders, is awaiting Taiwan, he said.

On the question of a possible bilateral trade agreement, Grzegorzewski said that while it is very high on the agendas of both Taiwan and the EU and can create “stable and beneficial conditions” for their investors, it is not likely to happen soon as it requires time.

“Once we manage to bring up the level of investment from Taiwan to the EU, it will be much easier to finalize this kind of agreement,” he added.

Grzegorzewski, 43, assumed the position of EETO head last September, succeeding Madeleine Majorenko, who returned to Brussels in August after four years at EETO.