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EU ‘preparing measures’ against China over Hong Kong, but diplomats say economic sanctions ‘unlikely’

EU ‘preparing measures’ against China over Hong Kong, but diplomats say economic sanctions ‘unlikely’

The European Union is preparing countermeasures in response to Beijing’s new security law on Hong Kong, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said on Monday. However, diplomats indicated that the likely steps will not amount to economic sanctions.

They have noted “broad support” for action among EU member states, they said, but believed tough measures were not being discussed in any detail, Reuters reported. The cited problem is resistance from China’s closest trade partners in Europe, such as Hungary and Greece.

“We have agreed … to develop a coordinated EU response to show support for Hong Kong’s autonomy and civil society,” Borrell said, after a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Brussels. He said nothing specific had been decided, but that EU ministers had discussed extending the EU’s export ban on “sensitive technology” to Hong Kong.

EU governments could announce national steps separately, according to Borrell. Finland said it supported the idea of suspending extradition treaties with Hong Kong.