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France's Europe Minister was 'pressured' not to visit Poland's 'LGBT-free' zones

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By Euronews with AFP
France's Europe Minister Clement Beaune had been on a two-day trip to Poland this week.
France's Europe Minister Clement Beaune had been on a two-day trip to Poland this week.   -   Copyright  Benoit Tessier/Pool via AP
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France's Minister for Europe has repeated claims that he was prevented from visiting 'LGBT-free' zones in Poland during a recent visit.

Clément Beaune, who is openly gay, has told French media that he was dissuaded by "political pressure" from Polish officials.

The French Secretary of State for European Affairs had wanted to visit the town of Krasnik during an official two-day visit this week.

But speaking to France Inter radio, Beaune said that Poland had threatened to cancel official meetings if he visited the town.

Human Rights Watch has said the alleged pressure by the Polish government is "shameful".

But Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk has denied the allegations and says the minister's comments are "clearly not true".

"None of the Polish authorities forbade or prevented the French deputy minister from visiting Kraśnik," he tweeted on Tuesday.

"These kinds of suggestions are not good for the atmosphere of the visit and our relationship," he added, saying he would discuss the issue with the French embassy.

During his visit, Clément Beaune said he was able to speak with gay rights activists, including the opposition mayor of Warsaw, Rafal Trzaskowski, and vowed to return to Poland.

Beaune has previously called the existence of "LGBT-free zones" an "absolute scandal" amid a long-running row between the EU and the Polish government.

Since 2019, around 100 municipalities, including Krasnik, have declared themselves free of the "LGBT ideology", following support from Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice party.

In July, the European Union rejected funding for six Polish cities under a twinning-agreement over their anti-LGBT attitudes.

Meanwhile, the French retail giant Carrefour withdrew an advertising campaign from Polish state television over gay rights.

The European Parliament is set to vote on Thursday on a symbolic resolution that would declare the entire 27-member EU bloc a "freedom zone" for LGBT people.