Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Situation in Taiwan following the recent typhoon

Delivered in Plenary - 17th September 2009

Mr President

The scenes of devastation and destruction caused by Typhoon Morakot will remain in our minds for a long time, but many people in Taiwan will be living with the consequences of this tragedy for years to come. Over 700 people lost their lives and thousands of others have faced major disruption.

The Taiwanese Government under President Ma responded promptly by deploying soldiers to the worst-affected communities and areas, and requesting assistance from the international community. The Swedish EU Presidency and the Commission should be congratulated on their work in activating the Community Civil Protection Mechanism. I do hope now that the Commission will commit to longer-term assistance to Taiwan to enable full recovery of its people and economy and the rebuilding of the infrastructure.

I have no doubt of the gratitude of the people and Government of Taiwan for the solidarity and support shown by the EU. Furthermore, as chairman of the EP Taiwan Friendship Group, I look forward to finding out the latest situation when I lead a delegation of MEPs to Taiwan next month.

The calamity that has affected Taiwan may well become more commonplace, both in Taiwan and around the world, as a result of climate change. It is therefore essential that Taiwan, as an island vulnerable to such meteorological phenomena and as a major global industrial power, is enabled to participate meaningfully and with dignity in appropriate international organisations, not least those related to weather and climate change. In particular, Taiwan should be allowed to participate in the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change and the World Meteorological Organisation.

Both the Council and the Commission support Taiwan’s meaningful participation in United Nations bodies now, and I hope they will use the opportunity, arising from this disaster, that has now been presented to Taiwan to promote Taiwan’s involvement in these structures.