Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • France sending military unit to Air Algérie plane crash site

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

France

Anger as plan to redraw French map omits 'Great Brittany'

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-06-03

Many Bretons, who dream of a reunified “Great Brittany”, are furious that a planned redrawing of France’s regional borders does not include the restoration of the Loire Atlantique department.

In 1941, the Loire Atlantique department (administrative sub-region) was separated from Brittany and attached to the neighbouring Loire region.

The decision to sever the department, approved by wartime collaborationist leader Philippe Pétain in 1941, is still seen by many as grossly unfair.

And now that a redrawing of France’s regional map is back on the table, some Bretons are rolling up their sleeves in their enthusiasm to get the territory back.

On Monday, President François Hollande outlined his plan to reduce the number of French regions to save costs and streamline regional government.

This will include merging Champagne and Ardenne, as well as Alsace and Lorraine. But Brittany and Pays de la Loire will not change their borders.

It’s a decision which suits the current president of the Pays de la Loire, Jacques Auxiette, who said keeping the current borders was “reasonable”.

‘Let’s fight’

Brittany has a strong regional identity and a number of powerful movements battling for its linguistic and territorial integrity. Mainstream politicians and social movements alike have called for the restoration of the Loire Atlantique department.

Former Socialist Prime Minister Marc Ayrault, who was also a popular mayor of Nantes, historically Brittany’s most important port, tweeted that it was “in the interest of the people” to merge the department back into Brittany.

His successor at Nantes city hall, Johanna Rolland, also took to the social networking site: “For the future of our territories and the people living in them, let’s fight for a merger of Pays de la Loire and Bretagne” she tweeted. 

Marc le Fur, a member of parliament for the opposition conservative UMP party, accused Hollande of “upholding Vichy [the wartime French state]” on his personal blog.

“He hasn’t listened to his Breton ministers, or the Breton members of parliament, or to local businesses, or to cultural leaders. He is deaf. He won’t listen to anyone.”

The organisation 44=BZH, which fights for “reunification” of Brittany, accused the government of only listening to the Loire Atlantique’s political leaders, who are desperate not to lose their jobs, while ignoring the wishes of the Breton masses.

‘Bretons are not serfs’

Using deliberate and ironic feudal language, the group said: “The local barons have had their day in the court of the Elysée [presidential] palace where they have pleaded successfully to keep their fiefdoms.

“Democracy has been put to shame. It should be up to the citizens to decide the future of their region. Bretons are not serfs. These decisions cannot be made without due consultation.”

Another group, the “Red Bonnets” protest movement which forced the government to backtrack on a planned new road tax in 2013, said the decision to ignore Brittany’s wish to restore Loire Atlantique and Nantes was “revolting”.

“Once again the future of Brittany has been decided by a bunch of technocrats in a Paris office,” wrote Christian Troadec, mayor of the Breton town of Carhaix and one of the leaders of the movement, who called for “resistance” against the plans.

“Reintegration of Loire Atlantique into Brittany must happen,” he added. “Nantes must once more become a Breton city. It must happen immediately.”

Protests calling for the return of the lost territory are expected to go ahead on Tuesday evening in the four departments that make up Brittany, as well as in Nantes.

An LH2 poll in April found that 63% of Loire Atlantique residents and 57% of people living in modern Brittany support a reunification.

Date created : 2014-06-03

  • FRANCE

    Hollande announces plan to redraw French map

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    France moves towards plain cigarette packaging and e-cig ban

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    France in €14bn tax shortfall as forecasts prove wildly off-base

    Read more

COMMENT(S)