French Minister for Decentralisation Marylise Lebranchu has dealt a heavy blow on demands for greater decentralization by the Assembly of Corsica after denying that there might be any option for granting official status to Corsican or to create a resident status for local inhabitants. Lebranchu told France3 and Corse-Matin newspaper that co-official status for the Corsican language "is not possible", while resident status would be "totally unconstitutional".
These demands were approved by Assembly of Corsica last September, with a majority of 46 deputies out of a total of 51. The Assembly proposed an amendment to the French Constitution aimed at listing Corsica next to the list of French overseas dependencies. The report approved by the Corsican AMs argues that this change could open the door to the creation of a Corsican "resident status" for local residents. The Assembly report says that Corsicans have real problems in access to housing because of high prices caused by the proliferation of holiday houses and, more generally, because of the island's touristic appeal for non-Corsicans.
Three months earlier, the Corsican Assembly had also requested French institutions -with no votes against- that a co-official status for the Corsican language be approved. The Assembly proposed two main areas for the introduction of co-officiality: public administrations and schools. Corsican AMs argued that the use of Corsican as vehicular language in the education system would help in creating a fully bilingual society.
Despite rejecting official status for Corsican and resident status, Lebranchu said that his government is still open to consider inscribing Corsica into the Constitution. But from the point of view of Corsicans, if those two demands are not accepted, Corsica's inscription into the French Constitution would be almost meaningless. In any case, the amendment could open the door to devolve powers to the Corsican Assembly to adapt laws approved by the French National Assembly.
(Image: Marylise Lebranchu / picture by Jack Rabbit Slim's.)