Macron to visit Corsica as demands for greater autonomy gain weight


Emmanuel Macron is to make his first visit Corsica on Tuesday as French president amid demands for greater autonomy for the Mediterranean island by nationalists who are in an unprecedented position of political strength.

Macron will set out his “vision of Corsica” in a speech, which comes after electoral gains by the nationalist parties and a street demonstration at the weekend when thousands called on him to properly address the growing demands for more freedoms from Paris. The question of what status should be granted Corsica – an island of 330,000 people that lies closer to Italy than mainland France – has long vexed Paris but has been brushed under the carpet by successive French presidents.

The 40-year Corsican “national liberation” campaign of bombing and violence targeting French infrastructure, ended in 2014 when armed separatists announced an “end to military operations”. But since then, Corsican nationalists seeking greater autonomy from the French state have had their best-ever performance in elections[+]