Poland did not prevent visit of French minister to ‘LGBT-free’ zone

Poland’s deputy foreign minister has denied allegations that the Polish authorities have prevented a French deputy minister visiting an “LGBT-free” zone during an official three-day visit to the country that began on Monday.

According to the US media company Politico, Clement Beaune, France’s minister for European affairs, had reportedly stated during the visit that Polish authorities had denied him access to the zone in Krasnik, eastern Poland.

An estimated 100 Polish municipalities have declared themselves “free of LGBT ideology”. Although mainly symbolic, the declarations have fuelled fears that intolerance toward LGBT people is increasing in Poland.

Responding to the Politico report, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, Poland’s deputy foreign minister, wrote on Twitter: "This is clearly untrue. The Polish authorities have not forbidden or prevented the French deputy minister from visiting Krasnik. Suggestions such as these do not serve well the atmosphere of the visit and our relations. We will clarify this issue during our contacts with the French Embassy."

Earlier, in an interview with the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper, Beaune had declared that the rights of LGBT people would be one of the key points of his visit to Poland. When asked if he would visit "LGBT-free zones," the French minister said that this was his "obligation."

"Whatever happens, I will talk to organisations that operate in these zones to defend the rights of the LGBT community,” said Beaune. “I hope that I will be able to go there. If, for reasons beyond my control, it does not happen this time then, sooner or later, I will go there because I have made a commitment to this."

On Tuesday, Senate Speaker Tomasz Grodzki, when asked if the topic of LGBT rights had been raised during his meeting with the French minister, told reporters: "In general, this topic was raised in the context of fundamental values that we all share as EU members."

During his visit to Poland, the French minister is also scheduled to meet with his Polish counterpart, Konrad Szymanski.

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