French president backs partial autonomy for Corsica

Paris, Sep 28 (EFE).- French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that he would back Corsica’s “autonomy” within “the French Republic”, as well as the recognition of its historical and cultural uniqueness with a specific article in the Constitution.

In a long-awaited speech before the Corsican assembly, dominated by nationalist political parties, Macron said it was a “historical moment” to overcome the misunderstanding and confrontation that had marked the relations between the island and the state in the past.

The French president expressed his intention of kicking off a new stage in ties that included the “autonomy” for Corsica, which would pave the way “to build a future together”.

“It won’t be an autonomy at the cost of the State, nor an autonomy without the state,” Macron clarified.

He urged Corsican politicians to work on a constitutional proposal on the new statute of Corsica, to be agreed upon with the government, within six months.

Macron also announced there would be “no red lines” during the process while pointing out some of the island’s needs, such as adapting some metropolitan legislative frameworks specific to the island, or its particular challenges regarding climate change.

The French president also recognized the need to promote the Corsican language in both centers of education and public life.

Before Macron’s address, the president of the Corsican assembly, Marie-Antoinette Maupertuis, and the president of the executive council, Gilles Simeoni, referred to the moment as “historical” and expressed their hope for Corsica to become an autonomous territory that will maintain its French, European and Mediterranean character.

The announcement comes after months of talks between the French interior ministry and Corsican authorities following violent clashes and riots that shook the region in 2022 after nationalist figure Yvan Colonna was assaulted in prison.

Macron’s visit to Corsica – the fourth during his presidency – also served to mark the 80th anniversary of the island’s liberation from Nazi occupation. EFE


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