Defense Minister Herve Morin at Thiberville, Maire Marc Vampa, Conseiler Gen. and mayor of Beaumesnil, Florence Espaldet, Pres. de l’Association du Musee du Landeau, and Maire Pierre Espaldet, St. Aubin-de-Scellon’s mayor.
Photo by Chris Card Fuller ©2007
This afternoon military helicopters flew France’s new Minister of Defense Herve Morin direct from D-Day ceremonies at Omaha Beach to Thiberville’s town hall(Eure), Normandy, lieu for a public meeting held by about the upcoming legislative elections. The town meeting is one of several meetings being held this week including Cormeilles, Pont Audemer and Bernay that are organized to have an open dialogue with voters who will be going back to the voting booths this weekend and the following weekend to vote for their legislative representatives (Minister Morin continues in his capacity as Deputy-Maire d’Epaigne).
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This was a rare opportunity for two Americans sitting alongside local residents to listen to Defense Minister Morin’s two hour outline of the new administration’s goals, not only concerning defense, but on a myriad of subjects ranging from social security benefits for veterans and farmers who helped feed France in 1945, the current braindrain of France’s young go-getters to places like Silicon Valley and London, and, yes, even the subject of speeding tickets came up.
“This was a chance for us to see a real democracy at work,” said Christopher Fuller.
A question-and-answer period allowed senior citizens as well as students to voice their concerns about the issues, both domestic and foreign policy.
Pierre Espaldet, St. Aubin-de-Scellon Mayor, Defense Minister Herve Morin, and Chris Card Fuller
Photo by Florence Espaldet ©2007
In discussing immigration, Minister Morin emphasized the importance of doing as much as possible in Africa to help. “‘Helping’ is the keyword here.” He compared the US introduction of the Marshall Plan into Europe at the end of World War II and he suggested that France should consider a similar plan for Africa. Because he pointed out, that until the living conditions can be changed in Africa, and as long as there’s nothing to eat, people will continue to cross borders. Thiberville’s mayor, Dr. Guy Paris, has been instrumental in establishing a direct ‘town to town’ dialogue in Benin. Through the efforts of Thiberville residents, books and medicine are accumulated and delivered personally from Thiberville to Benin. A similar town-to-town helping hands program with Niger exists in Minister Morin’s town Epaigne.