In late 2010, the French parliament passed a new law reforming territorial organization, following an (umpteenth) government-sponsored debate. The implementation of this reform is to be staggered up to late 2014. Given the time that will elapse before it is fully implemented, it is not yet possible to assess its effects concretely, but it is improbable, judging from this article, that it will produce a genuine simplification of the territorial organization of France, even though such a simplification is regularly advocated and clearly very necessary. Hence the importance of continued foresight thinking on the subject.
This is what Martin Vanier and Pierre-Jean Lorens propose here, on the basis of what they call “the inter-territorial hypothesis”, which consists in thinking not in terms of institutional and decisional levels or fields of jurisdiction, but in terms of active links that can be established between all the existing levels of territorial authority and jurisdiction. The point is to attempt to determine the system which might, over a period of one or two decades, link together all French levels of authority. To do so, the authors present the results of thinking and studies to which they have contributed in recent years, and the four scenarios that have come out of their exploratory territorial foresight study, entitled: “the Metropolises, New Territorial Powers”, “the Regions, Major Implementers of Inter-territoriality”, “Low Intensity Inter-territoriality” and “Networks, Masters of Territories”. So many lines of thinking that will, without doubt, fuel future debates on a recurrent and crucial subject, both nationally and from a European perspective.