EUROPA – PRESS RELEASES – Press release – Brussels, 25 November 2010 Visa liberalisation for Taiwanese

COUNCIL OF
THE EUROPEAN UNION

EN

Brussels, 25 November 2010

16851/10

PRESSE 317

Visa liberalisation for Taiwanese

Taiwanese holding passports which include an identity card number will be able to travel to and throughout the Schengen area without a visa. That is the result of amendments to Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 which the Council approved today. The European Parliament gave its green light to the amendments already on 11 November 2010.

The visa free regime concerns stays of up to 90 days and will enter into force 20 days following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. This is expected to occur by end December 2010. The visa waiver granted to Taiwanese is fully reciprocated: Taiwan decided on 11 November 2010 to lift the visa requirement for citiziens of Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania, the remaining three EU Schengen Member States whose citizens had not profited from visa free travels to Taiwan yet.

The visa waiver is implemented despite the fact that the EU does not recognise Taiwan as a sovereign state and has no diplomatic or formal relations with Taiwan. The EU has, however, developed regular contacts and cooperation in economic, trade, research, science and technology, education and culture as well as environmental issues with the Taiwanese authorities. As a result, the EU is the largest foreign investor in Taiwan.

Granting Taiwanese visa free access to the EU will reinforce regional coherence as the EU grants visa free regime to other countries and entities of the region having a similar level of economic development, such as Hong Kong, Macao, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

It is also expected that the decision will have a positive cultural and economic impact on EU-Taiwanese relations. Taiwan is the 19th largest trade partner of the EU and Europe is an important destination of Taiwanese travelling overseas.

The United Kingdom and Ireland also granted visa-free travel to Taiwan in March 2009 and in July 2009, respectively.