Emmanuel Macron is due to speak this Thursday morning before the Corsican Assembly to clarify the outlines of an agreement on the island’s autonomy.
This is a highly anticipated speech. Emmanuel Macron will speak this Thursday, September 28 at 10 a.m. in the Corsican Assembly, in Ajaccio, where he arrived Wednesday evening, to discuss progress on the status of the island, more than a year after his commitment to go “until autonomy”.
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It is, in a way, the moment of truth after the latest agreements reached in the heart of a summer of negotiations. After a year of discussions initiated after the assassination of Yvan Colonna, of back and forth between Corsica and the continent for elected officials and the Minister of the Interior, Emmanuel Macron must say what the word means for the State “autonomy”. The Corsicans want more skills, particularly fiscal ones, and to be able to pass laws based on the particularities of the island. The Head of State, for his part, has already imposed his limits: there is no question of creating two types of citizens, that is to say that there should be no resident status, demanded by the nationalists. to prioritize housing and employment for those who live here.
Autonomists remain cautious, separatists want more
Corsican elected officials are firmly awaiting the presidential speech. On the autonomist side, trust and caution remain the key words. “We have no right to be disappointed. For the future of Corsica, for our children, this is a very important step. It is several months of discussion and it cannot end at the end of the fish”believes MP Paul-André Colombani.
“We agree on the term autonomy. In autonomy, there is legislative power and we are waiting for clear announcements on this subject.”Paul-André Colombani, deputy for Corsica
The independentists are getting annoyed, because they would like to go much further. For example, they are demanding that Corsican become the second official language on the island. A “at the same time” is out of the question for them. However, the executive must find a point of balance, because, if an agreement is found today, it will have to be included in a constitutional revision. And this will have to be validated by the Assemblies, and in particular by the Senate, where the right, in the majority, is reluctant to make any institutional progress on Corsica.
“People don’t expect anything and they’re still going to be disappointed.”
On the residents’ side, it is less clear. Some fear that tensions will resume on the island, particularly against the State, if Emmanuel Macron does not meet the expectations. We especially feel a lot of resignation among the Corsicans. “When there are concrete facts, we can talk about them. For now, they are just words”, confides a resident. “We’ll see what he offers, but, unfortunately, we’ve been waiting for a while.”continues another.
A similar discourse among the least politicized and among the most engaged. “What we frankly expect from him is at least that he talks about financial autonomy, or something like that”says Tiare, a young independence activist who participated in the demonstrations after the assassination of Yvan Colonna in prison.
“More legislative power, we can’t say no, of course we will accept it, then it will depend on what is said. We cannot say ‘if it has been said, we can turn a blind eye’. We’ll see overall.”Tiare, Corsican independence activist
“I don’t think people expect anything special.adds Jade, a friend of Tiare. It’s always been the same: there are promises and they have never been kept. I think people aren’t expecting anything and they’re still going to be disappointed.”, she said, disillusioned. But the two friends will nevertheless follow the speech of the President of the Republic, with this ounce of hope: that Corsica will finally move towards autonomy, desired for decades by their parents and their grandparents.