Friday, January 18, 2013


The illustration (from Wikipedia) is of the well-known mille-feuille multi-layered pastry.

The same term is often used to describe the  multi-layered French Administration system.

In our case, for instance, we have, at least:
- Village: "X" (400 people, but no actual administration, I think)
- Commune: "X-Y" (800 people, 2 villages, a mayor, local council, looks after planning permission, local roads etc)
- Community of Communes: "Com-com du Kochersberg" (new entity created in 2002, 28 villages, 26 communes, 20,000 people, looks after tourisme, sport, culture, refuse-collection so far, but probably more in future)
- Canton: "Truchtersheim" (24 communes, of which 19 happen to be in our com-com, over 20K people, electoral area choosing one representative at Department level)
- Circonscription: "4th circonscription of Bas-Rhin" (4 cantons, electoral area choosing one national MP)
- Arrondissement: "Strasbourg-Campagne" (8 cantons, including all our circonscription, 280K people, normally should have a sous-préfet, but ours doesn't. Not sure what it does, if anything.)
- Sous-Prefecture: "Strasbourg" (2 arrondissements in our case, main contact between people & administration, driving license, car tax, firearms etc)
- Department: "Bas-Rhin" (11 sous-prefectures, traditionally the first-level division of the state, since Napoleon, looks after main roads, education at college level etc)
- Region: "Alsace" (2-8 departments, 2 in our case, looks after tourism again, education at lycee level, transport, business)
- Metropole: "France" (96 departments [from 01 to 95 including 02 & 2a & 2b but not 20...] continental France + Corsica & nearby islands, looks after everything)
- Republic: "France" (101 departments, including overseas - La Reunion, Guyane etc as well as smaller territories like Wallis & Futuna)

Beyond that, we can look up to (& pay for, but I am not complaining):
- Eurozone: (17 countries)
- EU: (27 countries)
- Council of Europe: (47 countries)
- UN: (193 countries)

But the big news is that we are (maybe) going to get rid of one layer.
Alsace is taking the lead in a move to combine one Region & 2 Departments into one "Territory".
Theoretically, that could lead to big savings.
If all duplicated jobs & offices could be eliminated...
Practically, in the short term it will probably lead to a lot of squabbling.
The first decisions will need to deal with "where will the new entity actually be"?
From likely candidates of Strasbourg, Selestat, Colmar & Mulhouse.
Maybe we will end up with a travelling circus, like the European Parliament!
And negative savings?

In any case, us Alsatians do get a yes/no referendum vote, on 7th April.

Warning: Please don't blindly rely on anything in this post - confirm with other sources!

Parting thot - "In politics stupidity is not a handicap." - Napoleon Bonaparte

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