While speaking in Ajaccio before the Assembly of Corsica, Emmanuel Macron proposed on Thursday a constitutional text to build Corsican autonomy within the French State.
Macron addressed Corsica’s elected representatives and stated clearly, “It will not be autonomy against the State, nor autonomy without the State, but autonomy for Corsica and within the republic.”
“We should have the courage to establish a form of autonomy for Corsica within France… We would all be failing If we left things as they are,” he told the island’s parliament in Ajaccio, controlled by the nationalists.
The French President granted a six-month window to Corsican political groups, including the separatists and the right, to reach a consensus with the government concerning “constitutional and organic text” that would allow modifications to the island’s status, which can be subsequently presented in Paris.
“There are no red lines, just the ideals of the republic,” Macron stressed.
However, the President refused to have two categories of citizens in the French Republic, which excludes resident status and co-official status for the Corsican language.
He committed to introduce laws that would ‘fully anchor Corsica in the French Republic, and recognize the uniqueness of its Mediterranean island nature and its relationship with the world.”
The Head of State, Marie-Antoinette Maupertuis, commented on this historic move, saying, “With this unprecedented constitutional recognition, I hope that the Corsican language can be better taught and placed at the heart of the life of every Corsican.”
“We need to give more space to the Corsican language, in education and in the public space,” emphasized Maupertuis, calling for a public education service in favor of bilingualism.
Jean-Christophe Angelini, Pro-Autonomy Party Leader, said that he is “satisfied because to hear talk of the future of a unique community, the inclusion of our island in the Constitution, and to hear talk of powerful resources for the language and the land. These are quite powerful reasons for interest and satisfaction.”
However, he added that he is “at the same time cautious because we all know that this is not enough at this stage to guarantee a political solution and that we still have a lot of work to do in the coming months.”
Last July, the Corsican Assembly took a decisive step by adopting a deliberation outlining the parameters of desired autonomy, including recognition of the Corsican people, participation in the official language, or resident status, all of which reflect the Corsican nationalism that goes beyond the historical red lines of the French executive.
The proposal of Macron came more than a year after widespread violence broke out over the killing in a mainland prison of the nationalist Yvan Colonna.
Colonna, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1998 murder of regional prefect Claude Erignac, was stabbed to death by another inmate in March 2022.
The murder of Colonna incited serious violence and demonstrations, pushing Corsica into widespread conflict, the island’s executive Gilles Simeoni informed Macron.