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Old Posted Jun 25, 2015, 7:02 PM
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mousquet mousquet is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Nimbyland Paris, Museum France
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So France is (unfortunately) no federal system yet. I guess the French are just too immature, vicious and quarrelsome like a bunch of spoiled kids in middle school for such advanced systems, so it's been centralized on the Paris region for ages to keep everyone quiet.

However, "décentralisation" has been a highly fashionable term in national politics for a couple of decades. A decentralization process is indeed underway and has nowhere to go but forward. I'm pretty excited at this trend that might also eventually help clarify up to the EU system of governance, which is seen for now as a massive and motionless technocracy impossible to understand. No doubt France is widely responsible for that.

However, so far and from my point of view, decentralization at France's level has been causing a major painful issue, since it's been mainly consisting in adding new administrations to the older ones, which makes the overall system even more costly, more complicated and less effective.

To my knowledge, we've got now these 5 levels of governance, from the widest to the most local.
  1. État. The national government. There's only one of that thing...
  2. Région. A region. These would be like counterparts of the the US states, the German landers or the Swiss cantons in a better federal system. There are 27 regions until now.
  3. Département. Each region is divided in a couple of those now regarded useless and obsolete. They're much larger than most US counties, so not really comparable to anything out there. There are 101 départements in all.
  4. Intercommunalité. A grouping of municipalities to help them develop common projects. There are over 12,000 intercommunalités.
  5. Commune. A municipality. There are over 36,600 communes.

The 5 overseas regions and the municipality of Paris are also départements.

Now let us see about the count of municipalities in a few comparable countries...
  • 11,250 in Germany.
  • Roughly 8000 in Italy.
  • Roughly 8000 in Spain.
  • Some 9900 in the UK.

From the president of the Republic to the countless municipal councillors, there are 628,000 elected politicians in France (only 24,000 in the UK while their population is roughly the same as ours). You know what that means? Far too many millions of public employees that come along. That's how the public administrations in France are widely seen as an awful mess of inefficiency and a crushing burden that the French taxpayers and private sector have to bear. It will take decades to make that thing more simple and effective.

The current government brought a tiny little bit of the slight beginning of a very shy answer of theirs: merging regions of the metropolitan territory.

Thus far, France's region map looks like those 22 current regions of Metropolitan France.



As of jan 01 2016, there'll be only 13 left.



Those maps come from france-pub.com.

That looks like centralizing from decentralizing if you ask me. And you may appreciate the remarkable convenience of some new names, such as "Aquitaine Limousin Poitou-Charentes," or "Alsace Champagne-Ardenne Lorraine..." Um, did I forget any hyphen anywhere in there, by any accident?

I would've rather enforced the countless necessary mergings of municipalities -- e.g. most intercommunalités could become new communes, and lower level communes would merely be erased -- and the obliteration of the useless départements.

Anyway, that's still better than doing nothing, I assume.
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