People on the Mediterranean island of Corsica will vote on their future status in a referendum on 6 July, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has said.
Separatists said they had carried out recent attacks on the island
"The time has come for the government to assume its responsibilities in offering to Corsica a strategy for action, development and peace," Mr Sarkozy said on a visit to the island with Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.
Mr Raffarin has indicated that the proposals, for a territorial assembly in the capital Ajaccio, are linked to plans for decentralisation in France in general.
But the leader of a Corsican nationalist coalition Corsica Nation, Jean-Guy Talamoni, said in an interview with the France Two television channel there was no agreement on the proposals, which he said lacked shape and substance.
"I can't quite see the usefulness of participating in this
ritual gathering and of adding our voices to this kind of
chorus which is inevitably going to be marked by discordant
notes," he said.
Moves to grant Corsica some level of autonomy have been prompted by decades of low-level violence by separatist militants.
A controversial attempt by France's last government to give Corsica greater autonomy was declared unconstitutional by the country's highest court.
But in March, the French parliament approved constitutional amendments by which the country's 22 regions and 96 departments can choose greater autonomy.
Corsica's own assembly voted at the end of February to seek autonomy.
At the weekend, one of the main separatist groups on the island said it had carried out 14 attacks against government targets there between late February and late March.
The Corsican National Liberation Front (FLNC) said in a statement quoted by the Associated Press news agency: "These actions constitute a clear and timely response to provocations of the state, to recent arrests, to police pressure exerted on nationalist militants."