“Today’s decision constitutes a further violation of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle (…) The European Union will consider taking additional measures,” warns Josep Borrell in this statement issued on behalf of the 27 members of the the EU.
The Chinese parliament on Thursday approved almost unanimously a reform of the electoral system in Hong Kong, which will give the government a right of veto over opposition candidates campaigning for democracy in the legislative elections.
This decision “will have a significant impact on democratic accountability and political pluralism in Hong Kong”, denounces the EU.
The European Union “calls on the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to restore confidence in the democratic process in Hong Kong and to end the persecution of those who uphold democratic values.”
“In the light of this very recent decision, the European Union will consider taking additional measures and will pay increased attention to the situation in Hong Kong in the context of the overall relations between the European Union and China,” the statement said. .
EU foreign ministers are meeting on March 22 to prepare for the European summit on March 25 and 26, during which European leaders are to decide on their strategy towards China.
The EU has been trying in vain for months to influence Beijing to respect the principle of “one country and two systems” and end the crackdown on the pro-democracy opposition in Hong Kong. The Europeans have restricted exports of equipment that can be used for surveillance and law enforcement and have adopted a series of measures to help civil society. The impact of these measures was assessed at a meeting on February 22 and new arrangements were examined in the face of the deteriorating situation, announced Josep Borrell.