French diplomats around the world and in the Foreign Ministry are called for a strike this Thursday to protest against the reform of the Government’s civil service that, according to them, will make their specific status disappear .

Under the slogan “diplo2metier” (diplomat by profession), French diplomats from around the world are showing their discomfort through strike action and on social networks.

“Like most of the French diplomatic service around the world, I am on strike today in defense of professional diplomacy with its specific capabilities,” one of them, stationed in the United States, said on Twitter.

Several ambassadors and senior Ministry officials have announced that they will join the strike, the second in the history of the French diplomatic corps.

The strike has been called by several unions and a movement of several hundred young diplomats who fear that the reform of the high civil service could eradicate the specificities of the diplomatic corps as a differentiated group.

The reform of the civil service approved by the French Government seeks to prevent senior officials from working only in a specific administration.

This will entail the disappearance of the specific bodies of ambassadors and diplomatic advisers, who will form part of a group of senior officials of the French administration from which the main representatives in other countries will be chosen.

That will mean, according to the callers of the strike, that diplomatic posts are held by officials without adequate training for the task.

One example given is that a prefect (government delegate) in a French department could, in theory, be appointed ambassador to another country without knowing the language.

In a forum published in the daily Le Monde, a group of some 500 workers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced the “brutal eradication of the diplomatic corps”, which according to them “will allow appointments of convenience to the detriment of aptitude”.

At a time when the war in Ukraine or the pandemic have raised the importance of international action, the signatories regret that France will weaken its diplomatic capacity.

France has the third diplomatic corps in the world by volume, only behind the United States and China.

The previous foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, was opposed to the reform and the strikers are hopeful that the new minister, Catherine Colonna, a career diplomat, can reverse it.

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