The European Union hopes to maintain good relations with Beijing, but this will not stand in the way of its support for Taiwan , senior EU lawmaker Nicola Beer said in wrapping up a three-day visit to the island on Thursday. Beer, a European Parliament vice-president, also said it was necessary for Europe not to give in to Beijing’s demands when it came to protecting the peace and stability of others. “The EU wants to continue to have good relations with China, but this doesn’t hinder us from speaking [clearly],” she said, referring to freedom and democracy, and peace and stability for others, including Taiwan and Lithuania. EU lawmaker opens Taiwan visit with vow to ‘stand firm’ with Taipei Asked to comment on a possible attack on the island by Beijing, she said the European Parliament wants to “protect the status quo, which cannot be changed against the will of the Taiwanese people”. Beer said Europe has stood up for Taiwan because it was too naive to trust Beijing on keeping its promise to Hong Kong. “[We were] too naive to think that [Beijing’s] promise to respect a special system in Hong Kong on the basis of democracy would be fulfilled,” she said, referring to the “one country, two systems” framework and the 50 years of autonomy promised to the former British colony. “It was not fulfilled, and so we have to take our lesson not to be naive in the case of Taiwan. And this is the reason why we make it clear that we stand for freedom and for democracy in Taiwan,” Beer said, adding this was also “one of the reasons that the European Parliament is very outspoken on this topic”. Critics say a sweeping national security law enacted for Hong Kong in 2020 following months of protests has eroded much of the city’s freedoms. Describing her trip as a strong signal of Europe’s concerns for Taiwan, Beer said her visit had come at the right moment, as the EU looks to counter Beijing’s attempts to internationally isolate the vibrant democracy. The war in Ukraine had made the EU and Nato more united than ever, she noted. “Everybody is aware that authoritarian regimes do not respect the international rules-based order,” she said, referring to the Russian invasion of the former Soviet state and fears of Beijing launching a similar operation on Taiwan, which it claims as its own territory. CIA chief warns Beijing appears determined to use force in Taiwan This also explained why EU member states stood up for Lithuania and did not give in to Beijing’s demands, Beer emphasised. Lithuania’s decision to swap de facto embassies with Taiwan last year had greatly enraged Beijing, which then reviewed its official ties with the Baltic state and imposed economic sanctions against it. Beer said the European Union had sent the economic sanctions case to the World Trade Organization to try to have the issue solved. She said the international community should back Taiwan in joining global groups like the World Health Organization because it could profit from the expertise and technologies the island had contributed to the world. The European Parliament is also willing to push for the signing of bilateral investment agreements with the island, she added. Beer, a German member of the EU legislature, is one of its 14 vice-presidents. The European Parliament, elected from the 27 EU member states, exercises legislative, budgetary and oversight powers over the bloc’s executive branch, the European Commission. Its members are known for taking independent stances on foreign relations, human rights and the environment. Beer’s visit is the latest in a series of increasingly active moves by European and American politicians to counter Beijing’s aggressive assertions of its global clout, including a relentless drive to isolate Taiwan diplomatically. Beijing has reacted with predictable outrage, with Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Tuesday condemning Beer’s visit and the European Parliament’s adoption of pro-Taiwan resolutions. “This is a grave breach of the one-China principle and has poisoned the atmosphere for China-Europe relations,” Zhao said, the principle referring to Beijing’s view of self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory. Beijing has vowed to take back Taiwan, by force if necessary, and insists that it has no right to independent diplomatic recognition or representation.