– Your passage was first marked by the Covid crisis then you had to deal with the Colonna events last March, for your departure it was a storm… how did you get through all that?

By trying to keep three key words in mind: representation of the State, proximity and benevolence. It is a philosophy based on this triptych which allows us to continue even if everything is not negotiable, with a view to in-depth dialogue with elected officials. This makes it possible to understand the issues of the territory, the needs of the population and to find among the multitude of tools that exist and among the rules of law, the best solutions. Obviously this takes time.

During the Covid period, we expected a cataclysm on the Corsican economy, in the end this was not the case. Is it the result of good crisis management?

– Haute-Corse has a very good track record. Economically it has not suffered from the Covid, well almost not. Part of the hotel and catering industry has had difficulty, but much less than expected at the start of the crisis when it was expected that 30% of Corsican companies would cease their activity. Only a few units, which were already in bad shape, closed. Overall, the recovery plan measures, exemptions or deferrals of charges have worked very well.

– Politically, how did you handle the Colonna affair?
– It is a dramatic episode which was then converted into a political fight by a fraction of people and often into a violent fight. There were still moments of violence, gendarmes and police officers will remain injured for life as a result of these demonstrations. I think we manage it with a sense of moderation, of responsibility. When you are faced with a conflict, the idea is to get out of it as best as possible, from the top and for that you have to avoid any drama to make tomorrow possible.

– The Corsican mayors greeted your departure, what do you think is the key to the good relations you had with them?

– It’s something quite natural. It was not my first post in the prefectural body, I was also lucky to have worked with a local authority for three years, which taught me how to do it. What I noticed in Corsica is that when you take the first step in building trust, you really manage to establish a real dialogue. This does not mean that we get along well right away, but it does mean that in any case we are progressing, we are reducing the areas of disagreement and we are arriving at solutions which represent an optimum for everyone. I brought together at least once a month the association of mayors of Haute-Corse to work on rigorous points, constructed with several themes addressed. For example, the fight against animal straying, how to limit the spread of Covid… there were decisions that were sometimes difficult to make, but from the moment they were explained, shared and co-produced, at that time , the acceptability of these decisions and the understanding of the context completely change things.

– After three years in Corsica, finally what do you remember from your stay?
– A territory with many assets, many desires but which perhaps does not resort enough to collective action when this solidarity exists. We saw it again during the storm of this Thursday, August 18, in less than an afternoon we still managed to find 5,600 places to accommodate people evacuated from campsites. An extraordinary solidarity has been established, so that means that collective action exists and works. There are also sectors in agriculture that are organized on a real principle of solidarity, as in viticulture for a long time or in citrus growing. The idea is to progress like this sector after sector, sector after sector, in order to show that there are many more advantages to working together than to working individually.

– What memory will you keep of Corsica?
– A lot of memories. The beauty of Cap Corse in terms of natural and cultural heritage is something extremely strong. Also, a human warmth in relations with elected officials but also with all the people from the economic world that I had the opportunity to meet in all sectors. In Corsica there is a real quality of dialogue with demanding people, which presupposes respect and mutual recognition but also which leads to beautiful human encounters.

Interview – François Ravier: “In Corsica, when you take the first step of trust, you manage to establish a real dialogue with elected officials”