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French diplomats strike: Diplomacy requires experts “to protect the interests of our country”

Jun 3, 2022

Members of the French diplomatic corps dropped their traditional reserve on Thursday to go on a rare strike, angered by a planned reform they worry will hurt their careers and France’s standing in the world.

Former French Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin labeled the pending reform a “historic mistake.”

Joining FRANCE 24 is Yves Doutriaux, Professor, Councillor of State and former Deputy Spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry. He also takes issue with Macron’s plan to merge career diplomats with a larger body of civil servants. “As a former diplomat, I would say it’s not a good reform.”

He says the jobs are quite specialized and requires a set of high-level skills: “You have to know how to negotiate, to accept to live abroad, to change duties every three years or so from one country to another, and to know the culture where you are working.” He says it’s a question of striking the right balance. “Perhaps that reform is going too far on mobility and flexibility.”

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