French diplomats strike against Macron . reform

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French diplomats strike against Macron . reform

For the second time in history they are on strike and, apart from budget cuts and lack of staff, they are protesting a reform that would put an end to the specialty of this body

It had been nearly 20 years since the Quai d’Orsay, the headquarters of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE), hadn’t experienced a day like this. For the second time in history, French diplomats in France and abroad went on strike. It was this Thursday, as they protested the reform of the diplomatic corps announced by President Emmanuel Macron and also the ongoing budget and staff cuts they are facing. His first bout was in 2003.

The protest spread to Twitter using the hashtag #diplo2métier (diplomat by profession). Many diplomats, ambassadors and consuls shared the reference on social media from all corners of the world to show their support.

The trigger for the strike, called by the unions and a group of 500 diplomats, was the publication of a decree on April 17 announcing the suppression of the French diplomatic corps, as it is known to date. It means the gradual disappearance of two organs of the diplomatic elite: that of the ministers plenipotentiary and that of the foreign affairs advisers.

The reform provides that, from 2023, diplomats will be elected from among senior officials from all government departments or the private sector. They will no longer be registered with a particular administration, but will have to switch from one to the other regularly throughout their career. According to the French press, about 700 French diplomats will be directly affected by the reform.

“We risk losing our professional diplomacy” because of the “ruthless repression” of the diplomatic corps, warned 500 employees of the Quai d’Orsay in a column published in the newspaper ‘Le Monde’ at the end of May.

The strikers claim they are not protesting out of corporatism. They denounce that this reform will mean the end of diplomats’ careers. And they fear it will open the doors for the government to hand-appoint ambassadors or consuls, whether from politics or business, with no diplomacy experience, no languages, or no knowledge of the terrain of the country they are going to. sent, as often happens in American diplomacy.

The strike comes after some particularly difficult years for the diplomatic corps, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and several international crises that have put them to the test, such as the recent war in Ukraine.

With 163 embassies, 90 consulates, 16 permanent representations in multilateral forums, 1,800 diplomats and 13,500 troops, France has the third largest diplomatic network in the world, after only the United States and China.

Source: La Verdad

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