By: Steve Dellar | 02-06-2018 | News
Photo credit: Twitter @rgaroby

Video - France’s Biggest European Island, Corsica, Wants Independence

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The events in Catalonia, Spain, have taken their toll in various European regions. In the UK, Scotland is thinking of a second referendum on independence and over in France, President Emmanuel Macron travels overseas today to become the first French head of state to speak to the Corsican nationalists.

56% of voters elected those Corsican nationalists to power in December of 2017, making sure that Paris would have to listen to their demands.

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The question of what status should be granted to Corsica (the island was annexed in 1768), where some 330,000 people live, has long vexed Paris but has been brushed under the carpet by successive French presidents as they deemed the question not too important.

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Corsica’s nationalist movement has a violent past. Just like the IRA in Ireland and the ETA in Spain, they too were not afraid to bomb French administrative buildings in the past.

The leader of the regional government, Mr. Gilles Simeoni, claims therefore that Mr. Macron's visit had the potential to be "historic."

Speaking about the nearly four-decade bombing campaign conducted by the National Liberation Front of Corsica (FLNC) before a 2014 ceasefire: "There is a historic window of opportunity to end the cycle of conflict.”

Twenty years ago, Mr. Claude Erignac, the French top administrative representative was gunned down in a nationalist attack that shocked the country and brought tens of thousands of Corsicans onto the street in protest.

President Macron will, therefore, lead a ceremony at the spot in Ajaccio, the Corsican capital, where Erignac was gunned down while on the way to the theatre with his wife.


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