“What will diplomacy be like without diplomats, in an increasingly unpredictable and complex world? “

Tribune. The civil service reform initiated by the government plans, from January 1, 2023, to standardize the recruitment of civil servants and their supervisors. It thus claims to want to streamline careers and facilitate mobility. However, specialized competitions at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs already coexist with considerable openness to external profiles: the Quai d’Orsay is one of the most open and diversified administrations (52% of staff are contractual, 20 % of management does not come from the diplomatic corps).

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Our diplomacy faces a risk of disappearance. The removal of dedicated recruitment channels for the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs will deprive the French diplomatic network of valuable talent. While, by nature, this profession is carried out abroad, requires specific skills and thus constitutes a vocation. Talking with Russia, China, Egypt, and, as we have seen recently, even with close allies like the United States or Australia, requires relying on a network of women and men who have dedicated their lives to understanding and analyzing these dynamics.

The know-how of diplomats essential

France defends an ambitious diplomacy and on the ground. However, it is preparing to become the only state in the European Union (EU), and the only power in the G7 and G20, to no longer have a dedicated corps of career diplomats. The victim of this reform will be French diplomacy, and the international influence of our country through it. Our ability to help our fellow citizens is also endangered.

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However, during the Covid-19 crisis, if 150,000 French people were repatriated in a fortnight, it is thanks to the know-how of hundreds of diplomats, who were able to extract flight authorizations from the local authorities, thanks to relationships of trust forged in the field. Close links with our foreign contacts are forged in the local language, thanks to a detailed knowledge of foreign cultures, and this cannot be learned in a few months.

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Continuity and long-term commitment are all valuable assets in the service of our ambitions in foreign policy. The reality is that our diplomatic and consular network is held together thanks to the unwavering motivation of its agents, always driven by a sense of public service. Agents who have also devoted several years, even decades, to acquiring a capital of rare skills, devoted to the foreign policy of our country and to our compatriots.

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“What will diplomacy be like without diplomats, in an increasingly unpredictable and complex world? ”

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