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 Full text 
Thursday, 18 June 2020 - Brussels Provisional edition

Foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 crisis - The PRC national security law for Hong Kong and the need for the EU to defend Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy - The EU's response to the possible Israeli annexation in the West Bank (debate)

  Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D). – Mr President, I would like to say to Mr Borrell that, as you mentioned yourself, the impact of the COVID—19 crisis on the international stage isn’t yet fully clear, but it will be huge. That’s for sure.

Let me take the example of China because it’s in front of us of course. Even before the pandemic, we had huge problems in our relationship with China. I am thinking about human rights, trade relations and the fact that it’s a state-led economy, just to mention a few. During the COVID crisis these problems have only increased. They have bombarded Europe with fake news, they were not transparent on how to deal with the COVID crisis within their country, and there was of course the knowledge that we now have that we are too dependent on China, for instance for protective material when it comes to a health crisis.

So let’s be very clear, Mr Borrell. Trade policy is the most important and the most powerful tool that we have within foreign policy and we need to bind them together, not just paying lip service to human rights and at the same time having normal trade relations with China. We need to fundamentally rethink how we look at China.

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