French diplomats strike over reforms, cost cuts | Daily News

French diplomats strike over reforms, cost cuts

FRANCE: French diplomats went on strike on Thursday for the first time in 20 years in protest at staff cuts and reforms by President Emmanuel Macron that they say could hurt France's global standing.

Hundreds of diplomatic staff at home and abroad, including some ambassadors, took part in the action, which had been pushed by young Foreign Ministry civil servants.

While some envoys overseas took to social media to voice their support, some 200 diplomats also protested outside the foreign ministry, holding banners ranging from "Diplomacy in Danger" to "Investing for peace is worth it, no?" and "There can be no long-term diplomacy with short-term diplomats." The strike comes at a bad time for Macron, re-elected in April, who has sought to play a leading role in the European Union's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. France holds the EU's revolving presidency until the end of June.

The core grievance centres around the merging of career diplomats into the broader civil service, increasing competition for posts, but which diplomats say would dilute the service that they say needs expertise garnered from years of experience.

Ministry officials have said the reforms, passed by decree last month and due to come into force in January, will preserve the diplomatic profession and careers.

France has the world's third-largest diplomatic network behind the United States and China, with some 1,800 diplomats and about 13,500 officials working at the foreign ministry.

- THE STATESMAN


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