Corsican leaders decry ban on use of local language in island’s parliament
Pro-autonomy politicians in Corsica were furious on Friday after a court banned the use of the Corsican language in the island’s local council.
A court in the city of Bastia on the island of Corsica ruled on Thursday that French is the only language allowed in the exercise of public office under the French constitution.
Corsican, which is close to standard Italian and spoken by around 150,000 native speakers, is considered at risk of extinction by UNESCO, the United Nations cultural organization.
The court said Thursday’s ruling ruled that the Corsican parliament’s custom of allowing debates in the Corsican language was unconstitutional and therefore banned.
In addition to the language issue, the court said local statutes that effectively established the “presence of Corsicans” were also unconstitutional.
The ruling follows a lawsuit filed by the Corsica prefect, the central government’s top representative on the island, while President Emmanuel Macron’s government is talking to local politicians about giving Corsica greater autonomy .
Leading pro-autonomy politicians immediately lashed out at the verdict.
“This decision amounts to depriving members of the Corsican parliament of the right to use their language in debates,” said Gilles Simeoni, president of the island’s executive council, and Marie-Antoinette, president of the Corsican parliament. Maupertuis said.
“Accepting this state of affairs is unthinkable for us,” they said in a joint statement, announcing an appeal against the verdict.
Corsican, they say, needs to be given official status alongside French in order to “survive and thrive”.
The pro-independence party Core in Fronte tweeted in Corsica that it considered the verdict “disgraceful”.
Jean-Christophe Angelini, president of the Corsican National Party, said on Twitter that the decision “sounds like an insult to us”, calling it “unjust and disgraceful”. “.
Relations between Corsica and the French central government have been strained, and nationalist movements have for decades called for more autonomy or even full independence.
Macron said last month he had “no taboo” about reforming the status of Corsica, a sunny Mediterranean island popular with holidaymakers.
But he insisted that Corsica must remain in France.
New talks between the leaders of Paris and Corsica appear to result in the conditional release of two men convicted of involvement in the 1998 murder of the island’s premier, Claude Erignac, The latter was the most senior French official to be assassinated.