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  #1  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2017, 8:05 PM
figaro figaro is offline
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Where should France's capital city be if not Paris?

First it is purely hypothetical because it will not happen. Suppose France is extra serious about "decentralization" and decides to move its political capital somewhere else from the disproportionally large ile-de-France, where do you think it should be located?

It would still be a sizable city because it will be too expensive to build everything from scratch. Second, it should be more to the south and farther way from Germany. And third it should ideally located in a region that is not the most developed.

So what about Clermont-Ferrand? A relatively underveloped area in the middle of the country, about equal distance between Paris and the Mediterranean?

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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2017, 3:32 PM
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Of course as long as the country is a more or less sovereign nation, Paris obviously remains the capital.
But I'll play the game for 2 seconds, for fun.

Clermont is definitely way too small and nothing much institutional. We'd have to at least triple the size of it to host the mammoth (the national administration) over there. And it would cost billions of euros of enhanced infrastructures to have it easily accessible from any region of mainland France. Those billions of euros we don't own, unfortunately.

Most obvious and convenient pick would be Lyon in my opinion, guessing the French wouldn't grumble too much if they ever had to acknowledge it as a new capital. Though I wouldn't bet locals themselves would even be really excited at the idea of the mammoth sitting on their city.

In fact, while it seems totally far fetched these days, in this politically troubled environment, the most likely is still Brussels. That's not even France at all, assumes a European federal government, thus the end of the independent French nation. No doubt we'd grow better off and much more powerful by such a radical option. Just too bad it's still so disturbing to most people. Hell, nationalism is rising again just about everywhere, and not just over Europe.
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The French? Pathetic! Always obnoxious! The total opposite of the Italians! Paris? Awfully polluted! The unbearable downtown! - (basically unattractive) Carla Bruni.
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  #3  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2017, 6:56 PM
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France is politically foremost influenced by institutions based in Paris. Its a very centralized state. Even though devolvement initiatives are happening.

In the last 50 years a second layer has evolved. Institutions based in Brussels, Strasbourg, Frankfurt are also important for EU members, read France.

Because of the decentralized structure of the EU somebody could argue that combined initiatives from EU capitals (Rome, Berlin, Madrid) also matter for France.

In the light of this the whole question of a new French capital seems awkward. Because inter-capital governance in Europe/ EU is more important than ever.
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  #4  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2017, 10:46 AM
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Well, those who expect Germany to pay for their own sovereign debts would claim the EU governance is outrageously centralized on Berlin, but they're full of crap. If you knocked on their doors to require them to pay for your debts, they would send you straight to hell. You just can't expect others to do what you wouldn't yourself.

There are now 2 distinctive blocks over the continent, which causes issues harder and harder to address.
On one hand, northern countries whose state budgets are managed very strictly, possibly at the cost of excessive sacrifices like a growing gap between the rich and the poor.
On the other, the southern obviously including France whose states take money they don't even have much much easier to the point of wasting it.

For example, something terrible with the French government is they keep spending lots of money just to maintain some large obsolete bits of their administration that are no longer productive. That we need to stop as soon as possible in order to restore France's credibility. It would take quite a couple of years, then we could make further deals that all would benefit from, instead of stupidly facing some overwhelming issues as is the case at the moment. It's been so bad that we're kind of looking like a banana republic of some sort right now. Fucking shame.

However, the Germans may be too austere in their public management for real. Public debts may actually help boost development, but if and only if they're meant for smart investment expense to produce more and more wealth, like better education, training for workers so their skills fit new techs, latest infrastructures and such. The German government definitely knows about that anyway, but they basically appear reluctant to implement such policies to the continental scale... I mean, there's still fierce rivalry between our countries, right?
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psst... A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)
The French are just a bunch of Italians that woke up in a very bad mood - Jean Cocteau.
The French? Pathetic! Always obnoxious! The total opposite of the Italians! Paris? Awfully polluted! The unbearable downtown! - (basically unattractive) Carla Bruni.
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  #5  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2017, 1:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mousquet View Post
Well, those who expect Germany to pay for their own sovereign debts would claim the EU governance is outrageously centralized on Berlin
Even Germany isn't that centralized in Berlin. Many federal agencies are in other cities. Intelligence is near Munich. Postal services, Defense, Taxation, Finance and Agriculture, all in Bonn. Supreme Court in Karlsruhe.
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  #6  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2017, 5:45 PM
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Certainly, but these are only the German domestic institutions.

The EU is neither a greater Germany nor even any federal system. To roughly summarize it, most important decisions at the EU level are made by the heads of all member states together, while it's no secret that the most influential of these members is currently Germany, by far, for the stability of their public finances and the (say relative) strength of their economy that's healthier than France's or Italy's.

So by Berlin, I just meant the German federal government as a whole. When you're Dutch, French, Italian or Spanish, the only interlocutor to deal with is Mrs Merkel or the most important characters of her federal administration.

Finally, France has been that centralized for the simple reason that it's a much older nation than contemporary Germany. This is most significant culturally speaking. The Germans as all our neighbors are well aware of this historic fact. For example, the French state was already there in the Dark Ages when the entire continent was struggling from medieval feudalism. I think that's a heavy legacy to bear and to explain the backward inflexibility of the French system today. We don't have any of these better federal reflexes to address our domestic issues yet.
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psst... A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)
The French are just a bunch of Italians that woke up in a very bad mood - Jean Cocteau.
The French? Pathetic! Always obnoxious! The total opposite of the Italians! Paris? Awfully polluted! The unbearable downtown! - (basically unattractive) Carla Bruni.
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  #7  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2017, 10:01 PM
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Isn´t France actually on a way to more decentralization, after the establishment of fewer regional bodies (Departments) ???

The one thing I find quite convincing in the German political system, is a certain geographical spread of its institutions. Several important courts are not based in the capital, which in theory, makes them somewhat more independent.

EU: I wouldn´t overestimate the power of the EU or influential countries like Germany. In the end national budget control AND legislation, even on regional/ local level, is far more important.

Germany: Its true that Germany is "perceived" as a strong EU member, but within the EU system hegemonic influence is impossible. Germany is always dependent on on partners like longterm allies France, Italy, Netherlands.
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  #8  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2017, 10:50 PM
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Germany is even dependent on Poland or on the Czech Republic. Don't worry about it, you're just at some real peak of your country's history. That's fair. The Germans are notoriously deserving. Enjoy it while our countries still exist as they are, cause this whole current shit won't last forever. I'm pretty sure about that.

Then we may get even more delighted, for those to follow us will be much luckier than we are, which is only natural.
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psst... A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)
The French are just a bunch of Italians that woke up in a very bad mood - Jean Cocteau.
The French? Pathetic! Always obnoxious! The total opposite of the Italians! Paris? Awfully polluted! The unbearable downtown! - (basically unattractive) Carla Bruni.
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  #9  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2017, 9:09 AM
Miu Miu is offline
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Originally Posted by mousquet View Post
Certainly, but these are only the German domestic institutions.

The EU is neither a greater Germany nor even any federal system. To roughly summarize it, most important decisions at the EU level are made by the heads of all member states together, while it's no secret that the most influential of these members is currently Germany, by far, for the stability of their public finances and the (say relative) strength of their economy that's healthier than France's or Italy's.

So by Berlin, I just meant the German federal government as a whole. When you're Dutch, French, Italian or Spanish, the only interlocutor to deal with is Mrs Merkel or the most important characters of her federal administration.



Finally, France has been that centralized for the simple reason that it's a much older nation than contemporary Germany. This is most significant culturally speaking. The Germans as all our neighbors are well aware of this historic fact. For example, the French state was already there in the Dark Ages when the entire continent was struggling from medieval feudalism. I think that's a heavy legacy to bear and to explain the backward inflexibility of the French system today. We don't have any of these better federal reflexes to address our domestic issues yet.
Germany's influence, to a large degree, is based not on its size but on its close connections and interdependencies with virtually every country in Europe, which makes it the go-to partner and facilitator for North and South, East and West, big and small, Euro-ins and outs, etc.

As for centralisation, I don't think it's purely a matter of France being a much older country, although that might play a role. The tendency towards centralisation in France and decentralisation in Germany isn't limited to the presence or absence of Federalism but is also evident in the traditionally dominant economic philosophies of French Dirigisme and German Ordoliberalism, organisational/management practices, all the way down to general social values (France being a high-power-distance culture and Germany being a low-power-distance one).

Last edited by Miu; Mar 8, 2017 at 9:56 AM.
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  #10  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2017, 6:08 AM
laufwerk laufwerk is offline
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The perception of german influence in europe is exaggerated, sometimes at purpose. Difference in economy and population isn´t that much to other big countries to justify it and we don´t have certain things like other world powers like nuclear weapons, a permanent seat in the UN council or overseas territories, and that´s good, but this is Europe, everytime a country gets a little advantage, and specially Germany for its recent history, some get a bit sensitive.

Back to topic, I think if they move the capital they should consider the flair of the sea, there are some nice cities near the Atlantic like Nantes or Burdeox, they have better connections to Americas like Canada and Guyana, Marseille is also an amazing city, and it has connections to all mediterranean countries and the atlantic. I doubt it would happen but it wouldn´t be a bad idea
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  #11  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2017, 6:51 AM
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Originally Posted by laufwerk View Post
Burdeox
You meant Bordeaux. You know, like red or expensive sweet wines they all drink. We often have some of these thanks to them, and they've been exporting their skills to Australia, South Africa, California, Chile...

But then again, I don't think they'd like to be any capital of France (except that of wine of course) cause it's being too many constraints right now.
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psst... A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)
The French are just a bunch of Italians that woke up in a very bad mood - Jean Cocteau.
The French? Pathetic! Always obnoxious! The total opposite of the Italians! Paris? Awfully polluted! The unbearable downtown! - (basically unattractive) Carla Bruni.
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  #12  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2017, 10:16 AM
laufwerk laufwerk is offline
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Originally Posted by mousquet View Post
You meant Bordeaux. You know, like red or expensive sweet wines they all drink. We often have some of these thanks to them, and they've been exporting their skills to Australia, South Africa, California, Chile...

But then again, I don't think they'd like to be any capital of France (except that of wine of course) cause it's being too many constraints right now.
Once they see all the money flowing into their budget, I´m sure they can´t refuse
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  #13  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2017, 11:03 AM
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I'm really no big senior official of the French gov., believe me, but I don't think those things would be that simple, otherwise this country would've merely sunk for long.

If you seriously think the French are like some dumb cattle following any capital establishment just like that, you don't really know them. Keep in mind "equality" is a key word of our national motto.

While the national administration has been centralized over Paris for centuries, which definitely explains the much larger size of its region, most the collected public cash must actually be redistributed throughout the entire country. It's pretty obvious.

As far as I go, I'm what they call a "libéral". Which means in my opinion, it'd probably be even better if each region of the country enjoyed a bit more of freedom and autonomy. I'm basically a federalist, but this opinion of mine doesn't make up a majority over the nation (yet).
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psst... A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)
The French are just a bunch of Italians that woke up in a very bad mood - Jean Cocteau.
The French? Pathetic! Always obnoxious! The total opposite of the Italians! Paris? Awfully polluted! The unbearable downtown! - (basically unattractive) Carla Bruni.
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