The advisors to the French in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, Frédéric Zucco and Audrey Leclerc, were chosen as candidates on the list of “environmental and civic engagement in southern Germany” in the May 2021 election. They tell us about their experiences and their future ambitions.
It is not normal that the stock market turnover for southern Germany has fallen by 9% while the cost of living and school fees are rising. Access to francophone activities cannot be limited to big cities.
What are your impressions as an adviser to French expatriates more than a year after the elections?
We have realized since last year that there is still a long way to go to make the role of the adviser known to French expatriates. Our task is considerable in view of the issues (education, administration, culture, economy and work, pension, social affairs, etc.) and the great distances (the two federal states represent more than 106,000 km).2). However, meeting the French in the constituency to forge links and convey concerns is essential. The pandemic has not made it easy for us and continues to limit our options, without forgetting that our work remains entirely voluntary.
What issues have you most asked the French in Germany to share with the authorities?
During the presidential and parliamentary elections, we were personally mobilized at the polling stations and questioned by our compatriots about exercising their right to vote and the conditions under which they exercise it. During the presidential and parliamentary elections, despite the important work of the consulates, compatriots asked us about the difficulties at the polling stations. After our request to pass on inquiries from Nuremberg, the Consul General from Munich, Ms. Pereira, did not hesitate to travel to Nuremberg in person to ensure that the vote ran smoothly. The French in southern Germany are demanding more consular visits, more information on how to exercise their right to vote. Many French people are involved in cultural and social activities in their community and would like the French authorities to have a greater presence and support in these areas.
We must give consulates the means to carry out their tasks, to provide our fellow citizens with a quality consular public service. We are fortunate to be able to count on dedicated agents in the Munich and Stuttgart consulates in southern Germany who struggle with limited resources and still manage to partially answer inquiries. But how long? We fight within our mandate, but also in the assembly of French expatriates, where Audrey Leclerc sits, so that the means are equal to the challenges. The Finance Law 2023 provides for a hundred new posts, but these will not even affect the consular network while we demand a return to the situation of the 2000s!
What are your goals for the second year of your term?
For the second year of our term of office, we want to intensify what we have already done: school aid (scholarships and FLAM), association aid (STAFE), information for our fellow citizens. We will act against the associations and our community, as we did this summer in Fribourg, where we also contacted the Cultural Institute and organized a public meeting to explain the role of the Consular Council and the Assembly of French Expatriates .
We would like to continue organizing this type of trips regularly throughout the constituency, in synergy with the ECAS collective (environmental and citizen engagement in southern Germany), a network of associations and political activists committed to ecology and social justice. Our next stage will be Erlangen next April. We would like to be represented on the boards of all the entities of the AEFE network and the European Schools, of course in an advisory capacity, to follow the evolution of education and to listen to the parents concerned.
If it is important to meet face to face with our fellow citizens and their associations, we also want to strengthen the possibilities of online contact. We, the representatives of social ecology, will put individual counseling and dialogue places online. We will increase communication about our activities, our trips to constituency cities and our offices.
The Consular Council 2022 will take place next month, what do you want to emphasize at this moment of the speech?
We want to talk about education, a quality education that is accessible to everyone in southern Germany. Last month, the consular council voted on scholarships for students from French, Franco-German and European institutions in the district.
We, elected environmentalists of the Left, criticize the methods of awarding these grants: we demand more autonomy in awarding them (we are only allowed to have 0.81% of the total in southern Germany!) and we want to focus on families at risk during this difficult time, those most in need regards.
You must be automatically informed about the possibilities of financial support. It is not normal that the stock market turnover for southern Germany has fallen by 9% while the cost of living and school fees are rising. We would also like to mention the native French language (FLAM) structures that need to be supported. Access to francophone activities cannot be limited to big cities. Funding the FLAMs is a way of giving French students from across the country access to French education.
Subscribe to our free newsletter from Monday to Friday!
To follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.