EFA’s Mission in Corsica: Pan-European Solidarity on Self-Determination
From 20-23 September, the European Free Alliance gathered our European representatives in Bastia, Corsica. Our official mission provided the chance to plan our activities and priorities for our future work.
Through a series of internal and external debates, our leaders gathered to reflect on the role that stateless nations and regions should play in the debate on the future of Europe. Internal debates allowed our leaders to assess our upcoming opportunities and respond adequately; while our external debates offered the opportunity to publicly display our pan-European solidarity for self-determination. With representatives from across the European institutions, we strengthened our ties with our representatives in the Committee of the Regions, the European Parliament and also with our member parties in Corsica, the Partitu di a Nazione Corsica and Femu a Corsica.
EFA was welcomed warmly on our first night, with an official reception at the City Hall of Bastia by the Mayor, Pierre Savelli. On 21st September, EFA’s delegation was welcomed to the Cullettività di Corsica (CdC) by the President of the Corsican Executive, Gilles Simeoni, and the President of the Corsican Assembly, Marie-Antoinette Maupertuis. A debate highlighting the environmental state of the Mediterranean Sea – underlining the importance of involving local government in implementing marine environment legislation and promote cooperation of local and regional authorities across sea basins was followed by a debate on the Corsican situation and perspectives with Andria Fazi (Professor of political science at the Corsican University of Corti).
The night of the 21st September featured a public conference on the Future of Europe, with a panel of esteemed politicians including Oriol Junqueras (President of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya), Marie-Antoinette Maupertuis, Gilles Simeoni, Lorena Lopez de Lacalle (EFA President), Jordi Solé (EFA MEP), and Karl Vanlouwe (Member of the CoR). The public conference presented an opportunity to discuss the EU’s Conference on the Future of Europe, and how we can listen to different voices and territories in the EU through it.
At the conference, EFA President Lorena Lopez de Lacalle stated: ‘We are the voice of peoples in Europe. We are the voice of diversity – and this diversity must go beyond the member states. We will defend, until the end, the fundamental values of the European Union.’
EFA MEP Jordi Solé shared the same sentiment, stating ‘we do not simply want to exist as a people. We want to decide. We want to decide on our future because we want to improve the life of our people.’
Highlighting the opportunities the Conference on the Future of Europe can bring regions like Corsica, Nanette Maupertius, president of the Corsican assembly, stated ‘the Europe of the future must be a bottom-up Europe. The CoFoE is an opportunity to build a new democratic, social and fair Europe.’
Receiving a standing ovation, ERC President Oriol Junqueras stated that ‘we cannot be scared of what they say. We cannot be scared of prisons. If we are scared then we have already lost. Only by maintaining our pacifism, our democracy and our dignity, only then we can build a new Europe.’
Our mission in Corsica did not only reveal our parties and leaders’ commitment and dedication to self-determination for their own regions, but the solidarity they show for territories across Europe. Representing the spirit of EFA, Lorena Lopez de Lacalle said: ‘we see the EU as a kaleidoscope: full of colours and shapes, diverse and dynamic. We will keep working to protect European languages and cultures. We will never stop.’