François Mitterrand to in the face of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, 1991-1995

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Marek Mikołajczyk


The French President, Francois Mitterrand, followed with a great deal of attention a deepening collapse of Yugoslavia in the late 1980s of the 20th century. In the beginning, he believed that thanks to reforms and Serbians it will be possible to maintain Yugoslavia as a country. Mitterrand - as opposed to Kohl, who since the beginning of the conflict supported Croatian and Slovenian expectations of independence - was against a ‘wild’ independence. This caused a serious conflict in French-German relations during this time. Finally, in December 1991, France and other members of the European Community, facing a fait accompli by the German side, agreed to acknowledge the independence of all Yugoslav republics, on the condition that they met specified requirements concerning the observance of human rights, including the rights of minorities. Since the beginning of the Yugoslav conflict, Mitterrand was in favor of further mediations and against the military intervention of France or the European Community. He did not change his mind until the end of his presidency in 1995. He believed that one cannot respond with a war for a war. Mitterrand was in favor of sanctions against the fighting sides, he was ready to support the humanitarian aid. On June 28,1992, he went to the surrounded Sarajevo in order to support the local community. Although this trip met with a surprise and admiration of almost the whole world, Mitterrand’s policy became an object of criticism in France by some of French intellectuals. They accused him of supporting Serbians and of showing indifference toward their acts of genocide, above all, in Bosnia. Mitterrand did not agree with these accusations. He stressed that France did more than anybody else for Bosnia.


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Mikołajczyk, M. (2013). François Mitterrand to in the face of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, 1991-1995. Balcanica Posnaniensia. Acta Et Studia, 20, 195-216.


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