Peace for Asia hosted a webinar with the EU Ambassador in Hong Kong, Thomas Gnocchi. We discussed EU – Hong Kong relations and the role of the EU in Hong Kong.
The Ambassador told us that ’The EU has an office here since 1993. In relation to Hong Kong, even if it is a small territory, we have very wide ranging relations in many different areas. After mainland Chinese companies, the largest group of companies are European companies. It is amounting to around 1600 European companies.’
However, the relations are not limited to business and trade: ‘It is more than just business and trade. We have Europeans involved in academia, civil society, hotels and restaurant business. The role of the office is to take forward these relations in areas which are the responsibility of the EU. We have different initiatives with the government at other partners. Very diverse, we engage with universities, we recently had an event on climate change.’
In recent years, ‘more political topics have risen on the agenda with Hong Kong and have taken a large part of the work of the office. Traditionally we were involved in sectoral cooperation, more recently political issues have also taken more importance.’
Further topics of discussion during the webinar were the new security bill and how the EU sees these developments; themes of mutual interest between the US and EU with regards to the situation in Hong Kong; and work with various actors in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has a ‘special role’ and ‘is a bridge between the East and West’.