The issues of operation and the latest developments of the Council of French Abroad was the focus of the meeting of 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 the 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 Council of French Abroad operates, but also about the issues 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 an advisory 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.
Referring to the issue of efficiency of voting rights regarding 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.
The SAE Secretary also visited the headquarters of SAE in Thessaloniki, and was briefed by the administrative staff on issues and problems regarding the SAE Headquarters.