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Delivered by Commissioner Christos Stylianides on behalf of High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini
Dear colleagues, you know well that the European Union is closely following the situation in Hong Kong. In recent weeks, we have seen the people of Hong Kong marching in unprecedented numbers, exercising their fundamental rights of freedom of expression and assembly, as guaranteed by the Basic Law. The massive demonstrations over the last weeks have shown the determination of Hong Kong people to keep the “one country, two systems” principle intact.
I would like to take the opportunity of the debate today to recall the European Union’s full support to the “one country, two systems” principle and its implementation. This principle gives Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy and ensures the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms of Hong Kong’s people. This principle is also key for business confidence in Hong Kong. Hong Kong, as you know and as you already said, is an important financial center, a global hub for offshore RMB business and a strategic transshipment port. The “one country, two systems” principle is essential for Hong Kong to continue to fully play its strategic economic role.
Since the beginning of the movement, the European Union has called for restraint by all sides, underlining that violence and escalatory responses must be avoided. We reject all kind of violence.
We were deeply shocked by the events of the 1st of July at the Legislative Council building.
The European Union shares many of the concerns raised by citizens of Hong Kong regarding the Government’s proposed extradition reforms.
This is a very sensitive issue, with potentially far-reaching consequences for Hong Kong and its people, for the European Union and foreign citizens, as well as for business confidence in Hong Kong.
The Government has said that it will no longer pursue the controversial bill, but the tensions persist.
We witness with concern that the trust between the society, especially the young generation, in Hong Kong and the government is more and more fragile. More protests have been announced.
It is more vital than ever to engage in dialogue to bridge the tensions within society, for the benefit of the Hong Kong people at large and the Special Administrative Region standing as an international hub.
Thank you so much for your attention.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-176376