Belarus: France’s action is part of coordinated European response - Minister
Belarus – Reply by M. Clément Beaune, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly
Paris, 15 September 2020
I’m very pleased to have the honour of answering your first question put to the Government, and let me take the opportunity as such to welcome those who have joined or are returning to these benches today.
France’s response, as promoted by the President and Jean-Yves Le Drian, is a coordinated European response based on three kinds of action. Firstly, totally unambiguous, unfailing support from day one for the Belarusian people, who have been mobilizing for over a month now. Secondly, action to impose sanctions – also very clear and swift – against the repression. And, finally, support for national political dialogue.
If I can quickly come back to these few elements; before anything else, I want to say – let me stress this – that we’ve supported this popular and political mobilization in Belarus since August, because every weekend now thousands of people are risking their lives on the streets of Minsk to defend their freedom. These are our values and we’re duty-bound to be at their side.
But this isn’t just about words. The European Union collectively decided to provide financial support, including to Belarus’s civil society associations and opposition. Let me remind you that several European Union countries are taking in members of the Belarusian opposition and I had the opportunity myself, on the Government’s behalf, to talk to Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who leads the opposition, to signal our support explicitly.
Of course, even more importantly we’re conducting a coordinated policy of sanctions at European level too. France has been defending this from day one: these sanctions have been decided, designated, as we say, and will be applied in the very next few days to target those responsible for this repression and oppression.
And then what I’d call European values. The pressure the Europeans are exerting must also be reflected in and lead to national political dialogue, and this is why – as has been mentioned – we support OSCE mediation. It’s on the basis of these three actions that a united Europe is mobilizing in support of democracy in Belarus./.