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In this interview, Clément Beaune, French Secretary of State for European Affairs, looks back on the dispersed return of the 27 to the Covid-19. He also comments on the European recovery plan, concerns over Belarus and Brexit, as well as the European Union’s tense relationship with Turkey.
While the Covid-19 pandemic is starting again in France, as in several European countries, Clément Beaune, French Secretary of State for European Affairs considers that it is “incomparable to that which we have known” in March.
He regrets, moreover, that the 27 are acting in dispersed order in the management of this pandemic: “There is a lack of cooperation and a lack of coordination”, he says, explaining that “the sanitary and scientific criteria” , on which decisions are based at European level, “are not the same” from one country to another. He denounces, finally, the closed attitude of some, like Hungary, who “do not play the game at all and who say virus danger, I quit!”.
Regarding the French recovery plan, Clément Beaune underlines that it is “four times” more important than during the financial crisis of 2008 and that it is also “a huge European effort, to the tune of 40% of the total”.
On Brexit and the risk of a commercial no-deal with London, the French Secretary of State for European Affairs wonders if the British are acting “for tactical reasons, are they trying to put pressure on Europe? Honestly, that won’t work, ”he said. “European unity has always been strong, it will be strong.”
Regarding the situation in Bulgaria, if he claims to support the anti-corruption protesters, Clément Beaune also defends Prime Minister Boiko Borissov. “I also know that in the opposition there is certainly, as we know, corruption.”
On Belarus, “the sanctions anticipated by the three Baltic States will be in a few days, I hope, European sanctions”, he said, while calling for “to start a dialogue with Moscow”.
As for the conflict in the Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece, the Secretary of State for European Affairs affirms that it is above all necessary that the Turkish provocations stop: “There are powers, including Turkey, which are constantly testing the ‘European unity, sovereignty and solidity’.