The issues of operation and the latest developments of the Council of French Abroad was the focus of the meeting of the Secretary of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad Dr. Olga Sarantopoulos and Ms. Daphna Poznanski, Vice President of the Council of French Abroad.
The meeting took place upon the acceptance by Dr. Sarantopoulos of an invitation to dinner by the consular residence of Consul General of France in Thessaloniki and the Director of the French Institute in Thessaloniki Mr. Christian Thimonier. The Secretary of SAE had the opportunity to be informed of changes in the way the Assembly of French abroad operates, but also the issue of participation of expatriates in the French electoral process in their country.
As stated by Mrs. Poznanski, French expatriates are now participating in the plenary of the House as a separate body, which consists of 12 members (MP). They are elected by all French citizens living abroad. The College of Overseas Members is a body with advisory and recommendatory role to the government.
Ms Poznanski said that the French abroad have a significant influence on the government of the country of their origin, cooperation on foreign policy issues, training on cultural policy and education of expatriates. The elected members of the Assembly of French abroad are entitled to propose a candidate for President of the Republic.
On her part, Dr. Sarantopoulos analyzed all aspects of the operation of the Council of Hellenes Abroad. The two representatives of expatriates agreed on closer cooperation, which could be done at many levels, as discussed by the Secretary of SAE.
Referring to the issue of efficiency of voting rights to expatriates, Dr. Sarantopoulos argued that Greeks abroad should have the right to vote and stand and pointed out that following the example of France, Greece could legislate to enable participation of expatriates in national elections from the places of their residence. She pointed out that the Greek expatriates could be allowed to be represented by setting up a special body (Assembly Expatriates – Expatriate Parliament), composed of Greeks abroad. This could be a long term solution to this burning issue as all the proposals up to now have failed.
The SAE Secretary also visited the headquarters of SAE in Thessaloniki, and was informed by the administrative staff on issues and problems regarding the SAE Headquarters.