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Procedure : 2017/2204(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0382/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0382/2017

Debates :

PV 12/12/2017 - 18
CRE 12/12/2017 - 18

Votes :

PV 13/12/2017 - 13.7
CRE 13/12/2017 - 13.7
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0495

Debates
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

18. Hong Kong, 20 years after handover (debate)
Video of the speeches
PV
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  Elnök asszony. – A következő napirendi pont az Alyn Smith által a Külügyi Bizottság nevében készített jelentés a Hongkong 20 évvel az átadást követő helyzetéről szóló ajánlásáról (2017/22014(INI)) (A8-0382/2017).

 
  
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  Alyn Smith, rapporteur. – Madam President, I am very pleased to introduce this report –briefly, you’ll be glad to hear at this time of night – to the House. I believe it is an example of the EU adding real value, and of the Parliament working well. The EU external competences are still new, and at best we can use the footprint and historical connections of our Member States to use that insight to inform a values-based foreign policy in the wider world. We can use that insight to inform ourselves, but not be a prisoner of the baggage of history. On that point, on a slightly personal note, it’s a great tragedy for me, that as the EU begins to speak with one voice in the wider world, my own Member State, the United Kingdom, has decided to retreat into isolationism with Brexit, if not my country, Scotland. I assure you, there are plenty of constructive partners in Scotland, and we’ll be in touch.

On this report, it is right that we take stock of the situation in Hong Kong. We are 20 years after the handover from the British to the Chinese, and 20 years into a 50-year commitment to a ‘one country, two systems’ approach. Hong Kong is the 14th biggest trading partner of the European Union, it is an important partner to us, an important part of the EU-China dialogue. And it’s important to be frank: Hong Kong is a great place but all is not perfect. There remains a concern that the ‘one country, two systems’ is being undermined, and in paragraphs 1(b) and 1(l) we voice that concern – not criticism but concern. I believe we have struck a balance. Freedom of speech also must be defended, now and in the future, and in paragraph 1(p) I believe we have struck a balanced statement which takes due stock of where things are. In paragraph 1(t) we set out ways in which we could support and strengthen civil society within Hong Kong, a crucial set of groups that are doing increasingly difficult work; they look to us for support. I am very pleased that we have reached such a high degree of consensus across the house: only two amendments of substance from the GUE group in favour of greater partnership on tax work, tax avoidance, money laundering, and financial transparency.

For my part, I strongly support the amendments, I urge colleagues to support them, too. I think there is a key area where we could assist in the fight against organised crime and money laundering. And with that I would warmly thank the shadow rapporteurs, our most excellent secretariat, the Green/EFA Group staff, and I commend the text very warmly to the House.

 
  
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  Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Madam President, Hong Kong is the European Union’s fourteenth largest trading partner in goods and the fourth largest in services. More than 2000 European companies are present in Hong Kong, and the European Union is Hong Kong’s second largest trading partner in goods after mainland China.

Vice President Dombrovskis was in Hong Kong just ten days ago, and we have invited the Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, to visit us in Brussels as soon as possible. We care about Hong Kong, and we know that its autonomy has been the foundation of its success. The people of Hong Kong are now asking to resume electoral reform, and to have a genuine choice for the election of the Chief Executive and Legislative Council in accordance with the basic law. But, as your rapporteur rightly notes, the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ has come under increasing pressure. The rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Hong Kong have been questioned. The implementation of the electoral reform has been postponed. On top of this, we cannot forget the case of five book publishers who went missing in 2015. To us, that is the most serious challenge to the basic law since 1997, and, unfortunately, it is not an isolated event.

In line with the report’s recommendations, we intend to reinforce our bilateral dialogue with Hong Kong. Our latest European Union-Hong Kong structured dialogue took place less than a month ago. What we always stress in our dialogues is that the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ is essential for Hong Kong’s prosperity, but it is also important for change; for its own growth and prosperity.

Our relations with China are becoming more and more intense, not only economically, but also on foreign policy and security issues. Our dialogue is very open, and our message to our Chinese friends is very clear: preserving ‘one country, two systems’ is in their best interests, and we are ready to work with them to make this happen.

 
  
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  Dubravka Šuica, u ime kluba PPE. – Gospođo predsjednice, želim se najprije zahvaliti gospodinu Alynu Smithu na zajedničkom radu i na međusobnom podupiranju. Kako je ovo naša preporuka Komisiji, Vijeću i Visokoj povjerenici, želim još jedanput naglasiti da smo istaknuli u našem izvješću Hong Kong kao velikog trgovinskog partnera Europske unije. Naravno, snažno podupiremo načelo jedne zemlje – dva sustava, i viskoki stupanj autonomije koji Hong Kong ima u odnosu na Kinu, a što je proisteklo iz kinesko-britanske deklaracije prije dvadeset godina.

Isto tako, ističem da mi kao europske institucije trebamo pružati podršku svim trgovinskim i političkim partnerima. Mi znamo da se Hong Kong razvio u društvu u kojem postoji vladavina prava, sloboda i visoki standardi sigurnosti, zdravlja i autonomije. Ovim izvješćem i ovom preporukom smo željeli pružiti potporu prosperitetu i pravima građana Hong Konga kako bi se omogućio model za demokratske i političke reforme u Kini, a s ciljem liberalizacije i kineskog društva. Poštovanje autonomije Hong Konga ključno je za njegov daljnji razvoj i dobre odnose s Kinom i u tom pogledu Europska unija treba pružiti podršku.

Još bih naglasila reformu univerzalnog biračkog prava kako bi budući izbori bili u potpunosti demokratski, pravedni, transparentni, ali da se nastavi bilateralni dijalog s Europskom unijom u različitim područjima politike, što smo velikom većinom glasova na vanjsko-političkom odboru potvrdili, a nadam se da ćemo i sutra na glasovanju u Parlamentu.

 
  
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  Tonino Picula, u ime kluba S&D. – Gospođo predsjednice, zahvaljujem izvjestitelju na zaista dobroj suradnji. Ovo izvješće je važan korak u našoj daljnjoj suradnji s Hong Kongom. Pristup jedne države dva sustava, temelj je naših odnosa. Dvadeset godina je prošlo, trideset godina je pred nama. Europska unija ima blizak odnos s Hong Kongom kao važnim trgovinskim partnerom, ali naš odnos treba nadograđivati, npr. boljom suradnjom u obrazovnim i istraživačkim programima.

Što se tiče stanja u Hong Kongu primjetne su intervencije Pekinga u njegovo uređenje. Prava novinara da slobodno pišu pokušava se ograničiti. Svjedočili smo i prosvjednim pokretima u Hong Kongu. Neki traže neovisnost, međutim, službena politika Europske unije je politika jedne Kine i dva sustava, što određuje našu suradnju. Ističem i problem utaje poreza i poreznih prijevara.

Podržavam apel vladi Hong Konga da poduzme učinkovitije mjere protiv poduzeća koja preko svojih podružnica u gradu olakšavaju utaju poreza i porezne prijevare. Nadam se da će većina kolega podržati ovaj apel na sutrašnjem glasovanju.

 
  
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  Bas Belder, namens de ECR-Fractie. – In de aanloop naar dit debat las ik in de New York Review of Books, editie 21 december 2017, een boeiend essay van de in Hongkong gestationeerde journalist Gavin Jacobson onder de titel "Hongkong protests". Aan de hand van gesprekken met een keur aan verdedigers van democratische kernwaarden schetst en analyseert Jacobson de uitholling van China's belofte van twee systemen, dat wil zeggen de gestage ondermijning van maatschappelijk en politiek pluralisme in Hongkong. Dat is exact waar het uitstekende en waardevolle rapport van collega Smith terecht de vinger op legt.

Ik wens dat dit debat en dit verslag een steun in de rug mogen betekenen voor de voorvechters van democratie en fundamentele mensenrechten in Hongkong.

 
  
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  Martin Schirdewan (GUE/NGL). – Frau Präsidentin, werte Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Ich bin der Ansicht, dass wir uns der komplexen und widersprüchlichen Situation in Hongkong nur offen und mit Offenheit nähern können. Diese Offenheit basiert meiner Ansicht nach einerseits auf der Anerkennung des Prinzips „One country, two systems“, andererseits aber auch auf der notwendigen Kritik an der Politik regionaler und internationaler Eliten, die Hongkong zu einer höchst ungleichen Gesellschaft gemacht haben, die einerseits von extremer Armut und andererseits von extremem Reichtum geprägt ist. Die Hong Kong people leiden unter einer unglaublichen Krise auf dem Wohnungsmarkt: Menschen leben wortwörtlich in Käfigen; deutsche Medien haben in den letzten Wochen ausführlich und intensiv darüber berichtet. Diese Krise wird maßgeblich befeuert mit Geldern aus Steuersümpfen, die bewusst nicht auf der schwarzen Liste der EU betreffend Steueroasen auftauchen.

Legen wir diese Sümpfe trocken! Helfen wir den Menschen in Hongkong! Dann kann der Berichterstatter als glaubwürdiger Makler in Sachen Menschenrechte auftreten. In seiner jetzigen Form jedenfalls werden wir dem Bericht und seinen Empfehlungen nicht zustimmen können.

 
  
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  Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Madam President, this has been a very useful exchange and I, on behalf of Vice-President Mogherini, thank the rapporteur for his excellent work and the honourable Members for their interventions. From this debate, we conclude that we all share a strong commitment to Hong Kong’s autonomy in the context of the ‘one country, two systems principle’.

Relations between the EU and Hong Kong keep on growing. Now they cover not only trade and economics, but also customs cooperation, innovation and technology, competition, food safety, the environment and education. European Union companies play a key role in sectors like financial services, retail and distribution, transport and logistics, which are all vital for Hong Kong. They rely on Hong Kong’s efficient business environment. To that end, we hope that in Hong Kong the high standards of the rule of law, transparency, non-discrimination and economic freedom will be maintained in the future.

May I close by signalling once again the Commission’s appreciation of Parliament’s role in keeping this important issue on the international agenda.

 
  
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  Alyn Smith, rapporteur. – Madam President, I really can be very brief, we have such a consensus on this report, the work has been done on it before we got to plenary, so I look forward to a solid majority tomorrow. I echo the points about the lack of progress on electoral reform, but we do cover that in point 1(h). I think we have struck a balanced text across the House. I would thank colleagues for the very good work and look forward to tomorrow’s vote.

 
  
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  Elnök asszony. – A vitát lezárom. A szavazásra holnap, 2013. december 13-án 12.00-kor kerül sor.

 
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