Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/19 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/19 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/19 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/19 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/19 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/19 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/19 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/19 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/19 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/19 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 10/14 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/19 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 10/14 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/19 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/19 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/19 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 10/14 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 10/18 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 10/14 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/18 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 10/14 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
France

Macron arrives in Corsica for delicate visit

media Des milliers de manifestants ont défilé dans les rues d'Ajaccio le 3 février 2018 pour demander plus d'autonomie pour la Corse. Pascal POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP

Emmanuel Macron embarks on one of the trickiest visits of his young presidency Tuesday when he travels to Corsica, a nationalist bastion demanding greater freedom from the highly centralised French state.

Macron’s visit coincides with the 20th anniversary of the assassination of France’s top official in Corsica, Prefect Claude Erignac, who was shot dead by a pro-independence militant on February 6, 1998.

The French president will attend a ceremony honouring the slain prefect, before holding highly sensitive talks with the leaders of the island’s regional administration.

Corsican nationalists, who have governed the picturesque island of 330,000 people for the past two years, achieved their best-ever performance in December's regional election, trouncing Macron's party.

 

The Pè a Corsica (For Corsica) alliance won two-thirds of the seats in a new regional assembly, a result which it argued gave it a strong mandate to demand more autonomy from the highly centralised French state.

Macron urged to 'harness surge in support for moderate nationalists'

Macron has previously said he is open to dialogue but ruled out making any changes to the constitution, a stance that effectively draws a red line on the nationalists’ flagship demand that the Corsican language be given official status.

Other demands include repatriating Corsican prisoners who are currently jailed on the mainland and changing housing rules so that only people who have been Corsican residents for five years can buy property on the “island of beauty”.

'Amnistia'

In a show of strength, the nationalist camp staged a peaceful march on Saturday in the island’s capital, Ajaccio, to press its demands. Organisers said 25,000 people attended the rally, while officials gave a far lower estimate.

"This is a mobilisation without precedent in recent years. It's huge," said Gilles Simeoni, the head of the regional administration, who unlike some of his coalition partners supports autonomy rather than full independence.

The march opened with young girls wearing Corsican flag's over their shoulders, as the crowd chanted "long live the independence struggle" and "killer French state", in Corsican.

A sign on the lead car in the protest read "Amnistia", calling for amnesty for Corsican prisoners jailed for pro-independence violence.

Corsica, famed for being the birthplace of Napoleon, was once a hotbed of violent anti-French militancy. For decades militants waged a violent "national liberation" campaign, but in 2014 they announced a ceasefire.

Speaking to RTL radio on Monday, Simeoni said Macron's visit signalled a "historic window of opportunity to end the cycle of conflict."

However, he warned: "If the road to dialogue remains closed we would be in a crisis situation and a political dead-end."

(AFP)

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.