Q: Does France share the EU’s concern with respect to the national security law in Hong Kong? Do you think that the measures adopted by Europe last week are enough? Has France decided to suspend its extradition treaty?
A: Please refer to recent statements. As the minister for Europe and foreign affairs recently reiterated, the national security law in Hong Kong is a change that compromises the inherited framework of the 1997 handover. It calls into question the “one country, two systems” principle and the respect for Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy” and related fundamental freedoms. This law also directly affects our citizens and our companies.
The EU has agreed on options for drawing the consequences of the new situation in Hong Kong. Indeed, the Council of the European Union adopted conclusions expressing its deep concern on July 28. These conclusions reaffirmed EU support for Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, in accordance with the “one country, two systems” principle, as well as the EU’s solidarity with Hong Kong’s population, while adopting a coordinated set of measures in various areas including visa and mobility policies, efforts to support civil society, notably through scholarships and academic exchanges, the export of certain equipment and sensitive technologies and the implementation of extradition agreements and other relevant agreements between member states and Hong Kong. With respect to this last point, and in light of the most recent developments, as things stand, France will not ratify the extradition agreement signed on May 4, 2017, between France and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Following the decision by the Hong Kong authorities to postpone the legislative elections, France underscores the vital importance of holding the elections as swiftly as possible under conditions that will allow sincere democratic expression, in accordance with the rights and freedoms guaranteed by Hong Kong’s Basic Law.