French President François Hollande announced plans on Monday to redraw the country’s map, by reducing the number of regions from 22 to 14.
France’s regions take great pride in their distinctive local traditions and identity. Brittany, for example, is known for its crêpes and Celtic heritage, while Normandy is famed for its strong cheeses (like camembert) and even stronger tempers.
But under Hollande’s ambitious new plan, many of the nation’s regions will be merged, cutting the number nearly in half. The proposal, which still has to go up for debate in parliament, would change the map of France if approved.
Adieu Alsace, which is famous for its beer and savoury onion tart, and hello Alsace-Lorraine. Bye-bye Burgundy, which is renowned for its excellent wines, and bonjour Burgundy-Franche-Comté. Auvergne, home to the deliciously rich blue cheese Bleu d’Auvergne, is set to merge with neighbouring Rhônes-Alpes under the plan, while Poitou-Charentes, Centres and Limousin are also to become one region.
In a statement announcing the proposal, Hollande wrote that he held the “ambition to transform the Republic’s territorial architecture for decades to come”.
The move is aimed at reducing regional bureaucracies and cutting back on spending.
“The time has come to simplify and clarify so that everyone knows who decides, who finances and from which resources,” Hollande wrote.
Other regions that are set to merge under the president’s proposal include the Midi-Pyrénées and the Languedoc-Roussillon in the southwest of France, the Pays-de-la-Loire, Aquitaine and Nord-Pas-de-Calais in the west, Lower and Higher Normandy in the northwest, as well as Picardie and Champagne-Ardennes in the north.
“I would like to believe that a clear political majority will be in favour of this project,” he added.
“We must move quickly, because we cannot afford to procrastinate on such an important issue for the future of the country”.
Date created : 2014-06-02