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Macao: 2019 Annual report shows the ‘One country, two systems' principle generally respected

The European Commission and the High Representative have adopted their latest annual report to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers on political and economic developments in the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), covering 2019.

In 2019, the EU and Macao enjoyed a good level of cooperation. The EU remained Macao's second-largest source of imports after mainland China, accounting for 27.6% of total imports.

The EU is looking forward to further strengthening and expanding its relations with the Macao SAR. The EU reiterates its commitment to democracy, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and rights in Macao. The report concludes that in 2019 rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law were generally respected to the extent guaranteed in the Basic Law of Macao and in conformity with the 'one country, two systems' principle, although political opposition remained limited and civil society not very vocal. Macao's press freedoms were generally respected, though self-censorship was increasingly practised.

Macao remained the world's largest casino centre, and gaming tourism continued to drive its economic growth. Economic cooperation with mainland China was stepped up in 2019, with new measures announced in the field of financial services to support Macao's diversification.

A new Chief Executive, Ho Iat-Seng, took office in December for a five years term. Whilst Macao's Basic Law and other legislative acts do not provide for the introduction of universal suffrage (unlike the Hong Kong Basic Law), the EU encourages the Macao authorities to foster greater public involvement in future elections for the position of Chief Executive and for the Legislative Assembly. This would increase their legitimacy and public support, and strengthen governance.

The full report is available online.

Click here for the full press release


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