Juppe cracks down on Corsican crime

The French prime minister, Alain Juppe, flies to Corsica today for a two-day visit that is being presented in Paris as proof of the Gaullist- led government's determination to get to grips with the island's economic and security problems.

Administered as an integral part of France, Corsica has been racked by violence for the past two decades, as anti-French separatism and organised crime have become increasingly interlinked. Two weeks ago, a car bomb explosion in the northern port city of Bastia killed one man - a known nationalist - and injured 15 others. It also shocked French opinion into realising how serious the law-and-order situation had become.

Now, after more than a year in office and repeated opposition criticism about inaction over Corsica, Mr Juppe is expected to announce a new twin- track strategy of tough law and order measures and economic assistance, designed to pre-empt a slide into clan rule.

The tone was set by Mr Juppe in a television interview 10 days ago, when he spoke of the need for "firmness" on law and order, and "imagination and boldness" on the economy. President Jacques Chirac re inforced the message in his Bastille Day interview, when, along with a call for political dialogue, he demanded action against anyone with illegal weapons. "When people accuse the state of closing its eyes to what is going on," he said, "my response is that the state has to open its eyes . . . things can't go on as they are."

The initiative has seen the dismissal, after only five months in office, of the chief of the island's police, who has been replaced with a tough- minded Corsican, Demetrius Dragacci. His promotion, it was hoped, would bring action and raise depressed morale in the island's police and judiciary. Within three days of the appointment, two nationalists were imprisoned for illegal possession of firearms and three more arrested - the first reported arrests for many months. While the law-and-order moves are seen in Paris and in non-nationalist quarters of Corsica as positive, there is widespread scepticism about the value of any economic measures Mr Juppe may announce.

Tourism, the island's main source of income, fell by more than 40 per cent in 1995, after a disastrous season punctuated by strikes, and is showing another this year of 15 per cent. The main economic measure is expected to be the conversion of the island to a tax-free zone. But officials say that, while adjustments may be made to tax rates linked to tourism, high French VAT rates will remain.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence