Foreign Minister Maas: when talking with China, we must speak with one voice

Virtual informal meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council

Virtual informal meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, © Thomas Koehler/photothek.de

29.05.2020 - Article

At a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers, Minister Maas stresses the need for a joint policy vis-à-vis China and the importance of the peace process in Afghanistan

The Foreign Ministers of EU member states are meanwhile meeting every two weeks by video conference to coordinate on key issues. Today’s discussions focused mainly on China and Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Maas stressed:

Our European Union is strong when we speak with one voice. That also and particularly applies to our relations with China. With regard to Hong Kong, we expect that its citizens will be able to enjoy the freedoms and rights they are granted under the Basic Law and the principle of ‘one country, two systems’.

Concerning the new Security Law for Hong Kong, the EU has made clear its position: Hong Kong’s high level of autonomy must not be eroded.

The EU-China summit: it’s time for real progress

For the EU, China is many things at once – a partner, a competitor and a systemic rival. That is why, in Maas’ view, it is crucial for the EU to advance its strategy on China. The Union’s independent, strategic position should be built on common European values and interests. Maas believes there is a lot to discuss, and that the EU-China summit in September is a good opportunity for this. After all, Germany and the EU want to see real progress on mutual relations – for example, an investment agreement and climate targets that are ambitious.

In Afghanistan, a ceasefire is possible

EU Foreign Ministers also discussed Afghanistan. The last few days have shown that a ceasefire in Afghanistan is possible. The Eid ceasefire sent an encouraging signal and is a step in the right direction. That is why it is so important for Afghanistan to have a noticeable, sustained decline in violence, and that intra-Afghan negotiations get under way without delay. Germany is prepared to support Afghanistan in this regard.


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