Taiwan moves closer to Europe visa exemption

Taiwan moved another step closer to obtaining visa exemption treatment from Schengen countries after the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) passed a visa liberalization motion for Taiwan yesterday, sending the proposal to a vote at the parliament’s plenary session late next month.

James Lee, Director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of European Affairs, said progress in the review of the proposal was going according to plan and the ministry remained cautiously optimistic about securing the privilege by the end of this year.

The European Parliament said in a press release that the LIBE had nearly unanimously adopted the proposal, with only one vote against, in favor of placing Taiwan on the list of countries exempt from EU visa controls. “The liberalization of visas for Taiwan will enable trade ties to develop,” rapporteur Agustin Diaz de Mera, a member of the European Parliament, said in the press release.

Diaz de Mera added that the EU had “already granted this exemption to other countries and entities in the same geographical area and at a similar level of economic development, such as Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, South Korea and Singapore,” the press release said.

If parliament passes the proposal, it will proceed to the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the Council of the EU for approval, expected in early December, the ministry said. Taiwan does not require visas for nationals from most EU member states, with the exception of Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria. The ministry said that under the principle of reciprocity, Taiwan would add the three countries to its exemption list by the end of this year if Taiwan were granted visa exemption for Schengen nations.