Why Taiwan Matters to Europe

Special Paper May, 2024

The Taiwan issue is known to be sensitive for Beijing, one of its so-called core interests. Taiwan has no diplomatic recognition among European Union member states but informal relations and cooperation between Taiwan and Europe are nevertheless extensive in many areas. The position that Europe should steer clear of a conflict over Taiwan presupposes that it does not have a clear stake in maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. European interests are, however, far more intertwined with Taiwan and its security than what its lack of geographical proximity would initially suggest.

Understanding Taiwan’s significance to Europe is increasingly important in order to understand the foundations on which current relations rest and what Europe’s stake in the Taiwan Strait is. To examine and expound on why Taiwan matters to Europe, the Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP) has brought together four contributions from distinguished experts for a Special Paper. From different perspectives, these contributions expound on Taiwan’s significance to Europe. They offer insights in several areas including, how economically important Taiwan is to Europe, what a potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait would cost Europe and what role Taiwan’s democracy plays in its region and the international space. In addition, this volume offers valuable policy-oriented advice for its European audience going forward.

This Special Paper was undertaken as part of ISDP’s Taiwan Studies Project and serves as one of the first publications of its Stockholm Taiwan Center. We extend our sincere gratitude to the authors who contributed to this important and timely project. ISDP also extends its gratitude to the Taipei Mission in Sweden, whose support allowed for this project to be realized.

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