Letter concerning EU-US Dialogue on China

The President of the European Commission &
Vice-President of the European Commission and
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Dear Excellencies,

We, the co-chairs and members of the cross-party informal Hong Kong Watch Group within the European Parliament, are writing to you concerning a recent bipartisan letter sent to you on August 13 2020 by Senators of the United States, Marco Rubio and Benjamin L. Cardin, urging closer EU-US coordination on Hong Kong. We strongly welcome this initiative, and urge the European Union to seize on this opportunity to build a robust transatlantic dialogue on this pressing issue and ensure that our policies towards Hong Kong and China are consistent with the values on which our Union is built.

The unilaterally imposed so-called ‘national security law for Hong Kong’ is the most recent breach of Hong Kong’s autonomy, rule of law, basic freedoms as well as international agreements. The increasing arbitrary arrests and detentions of pro-democracy politicians and activists, curbing of media and press freedoms, violations of international humanitarian norms by the Hong Kong authorities are but some examples of the increasingly worrying and deteriorating situation.

In its June 2020 resolution, the European Parliament stressed that the international community must work together closely to put pressure on the People’s Republic of China to ensure that its actions are in line with the country’s international commitments. Now, when the Coronavirus pandemic laid bare our vulnerabilities vis-à-vis China’s extensive foreign interests, we must answer with ever greater adhesion to our values and principles, and do so in cooperation with our allies.

We, therefore, strongly urge you to convene the US-EU Dialogue on China as soon as possible rather than await the result of the US Presidential elections. The situation in Hong Kong and China’s broader human rights record transcend political divides. Members of the European Parliament stand ready to play their role in this dialogue as demonstrated by the recently launched informal EP Hong Kong Watch Group. We initiated this group recently, bringing together MEPs from all major political groups, in order to strengthen cooperation on this important issue with national EU parliaments, as well as with legislators from other democratic countries.

We further call on European leaders to finalise the Global Human Rights Sanctions Mechanism as soon as possible, and to ensure that those responsible for human rights abuses in Hong Kong and mainland China face consequences for their actions.

It is vital that human rights, the rule of law, basic freedoms and Hong Kong’s autonomy are upheld, which are also key factors in Hong Kong’s continued economic success. The EU, together with our democratic allies, and in line with our values, must stand by those who long for freedom and should also adjust its policies towards China and Hong Kong.

We warmly welcome the initiative of the members of the US Congress, and stand ready to assist in strengthening transatlantic dialogue and cooperation on Hong Kong and China.

Yours sincerely,

Reinhard Bütikofer MEP (Greens/EFA,Germany)
Miriam Lexmann MEP (EPP, Slovakia)
Petras Auštrevičius MEP (Renew, Lithuania)
Juan Fernando López Aguilar MEP (S&D, Spain)
Anna Fotyga MEP (ECR, Poland)
David Lega MEP (EPP, Sweden)
Bert-Jan Ruissen MEP (ECR, Netherlands)
Alviina Alametsä MEP (Greens/EFA, Finland)
Michaela Šojdrová MEP (EPP/Czechia)
Engin Eroglu MEP (Renew, Germany)
Hannah Neumann MEP (Greens/EFA, Germany)
Hilde Vautmans MEP (Renew, Belgium)
Mikuláš Peksa MEP (Greens/EFA, Czechia)
Antonio López-Istúriz White MEP (EPP, Spain)
Salima Yenbou MEP (Greens/EFA, France)
Javier Nart MEP (Renew, Spain)
Rasa Juknevičienė MEP (EPP, Lithuania)
Andrius Kubilius MEP (EPP, Lithuania)
Viola von Cramon-Taubadel MEP (Greens/Germany)
Francisco Guerreiro MEP (Greens/EFA, Portugal)
François-Xavier Bellamy (EPP, France)