France Prepares for Corsican Push for Autonomy from Paris

The French are trying to head off another potential regional secessionist movement on the order of what has been seen in Catalonia.

The region in question is Corsica.  The mood in Corsica is to have less interference in its affairs by Paris.

Macron is going to Corsica for a two-day visit in an effort to nip the Corsican autonomy movement in the bud.

Macron Heads to Corsica to Avert French Repeat of Catalonia

Emmanuel Macron doesn’t want Corsica to turn into France’s Catalonia.

The French president Tuesday begins a two-day visit to the Mediterranean island where a recently elected local administration is making demands for greater autonomy that the national government so far has indicated it can’t accept.

French governments have long struggled in their dealings with Corsica, an island of 330,000 that lies closer to Italy’s coast than France’s with an independence movement that’s resorted to violence in the past. While the island’s current leaders have renounced pushing for statehood, they say they could change their minds if the national government doesn’t meet demands for a special status for Corsican residents and an official role for the island’s distinct language. Both moves could violate the French constitution.

“Macron is a serious man and a believer in the state, and I don’t see how he can or will satisfy their demands,” said Camille de Rocca Serra, a 63-year-old former president of Corsican assembly. “It’s not possible and it wouldn’t be beneficial. France is a unitary state, not a federation.”

Macron’s decision to spend two full days in Corsica is out of proportion to its population and economy, both equal to about 0.5 percent of all of France. But attention has been focused on Europe’s restive regions after Scotland narrowly voted against independence in 2014 and Spain was plunged into a constitutional crisis when Catalonia’s parliament last September unilaterally called for statehood. Two northern Italian regions voted last year to negotiate greater autonomy from Rome.

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