In brief

French government says it is “ready” for debate on Guadeloupe autonomy

Party of Corsican president recalls talks are stalled in Mediterranean island

Sébastien Lecornu, in the televised message where he has evoked the autonomy of Guadalupe.
Sébastien Lecornu, in the televised message where he has evoked the autonomy of Guadalupe. Author: Ministère des Outre-mer
Overseas Minister Sebastien Lecornu has said the French government is “ready” to discuss possible autonomy for Guadeloupe, a Caribbean archipelago that has been the scene of protests and riots in recent weeks.

The protests have been directed against measures decreed by the French government to contain the covid-19 pandemic. In the background, however, there is widespread unease over living conditions on the archipelago.

Several Guadeloupe leaders, including Regional Council President Ary Chalus, have criticized in recent months that decisions made by Paris on health issues did not take sufficient account of the characteristics and conditions of the Caribbean archipelago.

In 2019, Guadeloupe’s elected officials had demanded that France allow laws to be adapted in a different way to the Caribbean territory.

Lecornu has mentioned the possibility of a dialogue on autonomy after meeting with elected representatives in Guadeloupe last week. “According to them, Guadalupe could manage itself better,” the minister has said. Lecornu has indicated that a possible model could be that of Polynesia.

Guadeloupe is currently a French overseas region and department. As such, it does not have a specific status of its own.

Call from Corsica

Femu a Corsica, the party of Corsican President Gilles Simeoni, has issued a statement deploring the French government’s failure to apply the same approach to Corsica. The statement recalls that “a large majority of Corsicans” have repeatedly voted for political parties demanding a statute of autonomy for Corsica but, on the contrary, the French government has systematically refused to talk about it.

In the 2021 election, Corsican nationalist parties won 2 in 3 votes cast. In October, the Corsican government unveiled a study suggesting three constitutional paths to autonomy.