On 27 January, the Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament strongly condemned the coercive measures applied by China to Lithuania and welcomed the European Commission’s decision to respond by launching a case at the World Trade Organisation against Beijing over its discriminatory trade practices.
The liberal political Group already requested a plenary debate on this matter, after China went to great lengths to punish Lithuania for opening a Taiwanese representative office. In recent years, Lithuania has been one of Europe's most ardent critics of China on issues ranging from the treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang, to Hong Kong's freedoms.
Hilde Vautmans MEP (Open Vld,BE), the European Parliament standing rapporteur on China and Renew Europe Group’s coordinator in the Foreign Affairs Committee, said:
“I welcome the EU's fierce response to China's ongoing economic coercion against Lithuania, which is affecting the EU as a whole. We must protect the integrity of our Single Market if it is endangered. The EU must make China understand how determined it is to defend its rights, to have trade rules respected and to never bow to China's coercive practices. We stand with Lithuania, as we will stand with any other EU member state becoming subject to China's economic bullying.”
A trade attack against a member state is an attack on the #EU! We must protect the integrity of our Single Market and if there's no other way... Pleased to see the EU supporting #Lithuania against 🇨🇳ongoing economic coercion.— Hilde Vautmans (@hildevautmans) January 27, 2022
We're in this together!🇱🇹🇪🇺https://t.co/6ZzkdxJH9v
Petras Auštrevičius MEP (Lithuanian Liberal Movement, LT), added:
“China's aggressiveness and intimidation must be met with a strong EU response and a review of its policy towards Chinese coercion.”
The EU must defend its own interests and those of its Member States. The Group supports the Commission in continuing its efforts and using all the legal tools in its hands to counterattack.
Furthermore, the ALDE Party also believes China’s violations of human rights should not go unpunished. This is why we called for an EU-wide diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in a resolution passed on our last Congress. Stand with us to defend human rights and sign our petition here!