European politicians are expected to raise concerns about the use of police force against protesters in Hong Kong as parliaments reconvene after the summer break. But governments will have to balance the popular support for protesters at home with the risk of diplomatic retaliation from Beijing, according to diplomatic observers. European diplomats in Beijing said European officials had been watching the protests closely over the summer and administrations would be under public pressure to defend peaceful demonstrations on human rights grounds. “We are spending more and more of our time monitoring what is happening in Hong Kong,” one European diplomat said. “I expect some of them to bring it to the table when parliament is back in session.” Earlier this month, Danish opposition politician Rasmus Nordqvist called on the Danish foreign ministry to clarify whether the government supported protesters’ demands to formally withdraw the now-shelved extradition bill, and for an independent investigation into allegations of police violence. In response, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said he called on Hong Kong’s government to engage with the population, and to respect freedom of speech and assembly. Kofod also repeated Denmark’s support for the European Union’s call two weeks ago for all sides to reject violence. Andreas Bøje Forsby, researcher at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies in Copenhagen, said opposition members of the Danish parliament were more willing to be critical of China, “especially those that are most unlikely to assume government responsibility at a later point”. EU adopts Hong Kong motion Beijing says is full of ‘ignorance and prejudice’ “While China-critical voices have become more widespread in the past couple of years, the Danish government ... will still generally refrain from criticising China publicly,” Forsby said. In July, the European Parliament passed a resolution on Hong Kong, warning Beijing to cease the “the constant and increasing interference by China in Hong Kong’s internal affairs”. It also called for an independent investigation of the use of force by Hong Kong police against protesters. The Chinese foreign ministry hit back, saying the parliamentarians’ “ignorance and attitude have left people speechless with astonishment and horror” and they should not interfere in China’s internal affairs. Reinhard Buetikofer, a member of the European Parliament and deputy chairman of its delegation for relations with China, said Hong Kong was economically important to Europe, and served as a bridge to China. “People do know that Hong Kong is a part of China and that Europe does not hold sway over the future of Hong Kong. But they do admire the courage and the overwhelming peacefulness with which Hongkongers have stood up for their rights, and they sympathise with that. They see it as a part of worldwide struggles for democracy and human rights,” Buetikofer said. ‘All laws’, including emergency powers, on the table for Hong Kong leader The European Parliament will resume sitting in mid-September but Chinese diplomats on the continent have already been on the offensive. On Saturday in an opinion piece published by a local news outlet, China’s ambassador to Slovakia, Lin Lin, accused the US of “fanning the flames” in Hong Kong. Analysts said that while some politicians were likely to raise the issue of Hong Kong in parliament, no major action would come from Europe if there were no escalation in action against the protesters. Tim Ruhlig, researcher at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, said concern about Hong Kong might spark “a resolution here, and a parliamentary debate there”, but most governments would be unlikely to take major action if there was not a major crackdown on protesters. Forsby said that as long as Beijing did not intervene directly in Hong Kong, “most of the European governments will be comfortable with having Brussels define a joint position”.