Let me begin by excusing Jean-Yves Le Drian. The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs is in fact visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular to participate in the air bridge put in place by the Europeans, together with the States and peoples of Africa, in order to fight the COVID-19 epidemic together.
Because, yes, Europe is the appropriate level for dealing with a number of situations. And as regards, precisely, the Hong Kong situation, which you mention, the Europeans – the European States, and France in particular – spoke with one voice to express their deep, serious concern, back on 22 May.
We’ve twice reiterated our commitment to that territory’s high degree of autonomy, which is guaranteed by the “one country, two systems” principle – a principle which has made Hong Kong successful and prosperous. We’ve also indicated with our European partners – since you mention this action Europe has taken – the importance we attach to respect for the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and the independence of the judiciary, which is guaranteed under Hong Kong’s Basic Law.
On several occasions, Jean-Yves Le Drian has reiterated this commitment France has to respect for these principles. The President himself was able to talk about this to his counterpart, President Xi Jinping, during a [telephone] conversation on Friday.
We shall, of course, continue to monitor the situation closely. On Monday, the European foreign ministers are meeting in the Foreign Affairs Council format. And the next few weeks also include a number of meetings between the European Union and China, in order for this monitoring to be effective and for the matter to be raised as part of the permanent dialogue between the European Union and China.
Translation courtesy of the French Embassy in London