Tribune européenne, Futuribles Journal n° 401

Institutions - Territoires, réseaux

An End to France’s Territorial Layer-Cake?

Shortly after forming his government, the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls caused something of a stir among French local and regional authorities by announcing, last April, that the number of French regions would be halved in 2017 and by proposing to abolish départements by 2021. Though there is much to be said for this, given France’s territorial complexity, the experience of previous attempts at reform and the way a number of local politicians tend to cling to their powers mean that this new initiative –officially launched in June– is not certain to come to fruition.

However, as Jean-François Drevet shows here, comparing the kinds of territorial division prevailing in France with those in other European countries where municipalities, counties/provinces and regions are concerned, it would be a logical development enabling the country to resemble its European partners more closely in terms of territorial organization. Moreover, such a reform would give scope for some substantial savings –a point not to be ignored in such delicate times for the public finances, even if we should be careful not to overestimate these, as Jean-François Drevet reminds us in the conclusion to his column.

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