A draft resolution, obtained by Politico, says the European Parliament “strongly criticizes the adoption of the national security law on Hong Kong by the National Peoples’ Congress”. The document “calls for the EU and its member states, in case the new security law is applied, to consider filing a case before the International Court of Justice, alleging that China’s decision to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong violates the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” The European Parliament’s draft resolution also throws support behind the push for democracy from Hong Kong and urges the region’s authorities “to drop all charges against peaceful protesters and to abandon all repressive measures against Hong Kong citizens exercising their freedom of expression.”
In a warning shot to Beijing, the document says: “The violation of Hong Kong’s high level of autonomy and its freedoms will undermine the international community’s willingness to trust China as a partner and will also put in doubt Hong Kong’s future role as a relevant global financial centre.”
The text also wants a UN special envoy appointed to monitor the escalating situation in Hong Kong.
MEPs are set to discuss the issue with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Thursday before voting on the resolution on Friday.
Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer, chair of the Parliament’s delegation for relations with China, told Politico: “We intend to show what the EU can do beyond hand-wringing.
The EU will this week step up its response toward China
THE European Parliament could vote in favour of taking China to the International Court of Justice
“This is a clear signal to Chinese President Xi Jinping but also toward our own leaders.”
Mr Bütikofer, who is driving the resolution, said the latest draft had been agreed last Friday with members of the European People’s Party, Socialist & Democrats, Renew Europe and the European Conservatives and Reformists.
He is therefore confident this will get the necessary support to push through the resolution when MEPs vote on it at the end of this week.
This comes ahead of a crunch virtual meeting between European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang next Monday.
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Reinhard Bütikofer has sent a strong message to China ahead of the vote in the European Parliament
Angela Merkel’s spokesperson said the German Chancellor held a video conference call with Li on Thursday to discuss the situation in Hong Kong, with a number of other topics, including the current coronavirus crisis, also discussed.
The vote in the European Parliament would mark a significant step up from member states towards China’s hardline stance against Hong Kong over recent weeks.
On Wednesday, Mr Borrell stressed “we are not going to be in any kind of Cold War” with Beijing.
The stance from the EU had up until this point been in stark contrast to the aggressive approach taken by the US, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo describing the Chinese Communist Party as the “central threat of our times” earlier this year.
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Chinese President Xi Jinping is coming under pressure for the country’s action against Hong Kong
Ursula von der Leyen will be part of a virtual meeting with Charles Michel and Li Keqiang
EU foreign ministers are set to hold a video meeting with Mr Pompeo later today, with the escalating situation in Hong Kong being one of the main topics of discussion.
An EU diplomat told Politico the two sides will also discuss the coronavirus pandemic, the Middle East, Libya and Ukraine.
The push for legal action against China comes with Beijing planning to “strike back” in “areas where the UK steps out of line” as relations between Beijing and London deteriorate over Hong Kong.
In a six-month report on Hong Kong on Friday, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office warned China to “reconsider, to step back from the brink and respect Hong Kong’s autonomy and respect its own international obligations.
“The UK will not look the other way when it comes to the people of Hong Kong, we will stand by them, and we will live up to our responsibilities”.
The Chinese Communist Party, according to the tabloid The Global Times, has warned that the British economy faces “substantial damage” if the UK government does not change course.
The news site told how Beijing would “strike back” in “areas where the UK steps out of line”.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has told Dominic Raab in a phone call last Monday that Hong Kong is “purely China’s internal affair” and that national security is a “core interest”, as Beijing terms its red lines.