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Frankreich im Umbruch zwischen Zentralismus, Dezentralisierung und europäischer Integration

France between centralism, decentralisation and European integration
[journal article]

Brücher, Wolfgang

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Abstract Under the influence of globalisation, the decentralisation acts passed in 1982 and the regionalisation and European process of integration, the central French state appears to be growing weaker. Furthermore, the last reason appears to mean that France is losing its traditional identity. Despite the indisputable progress, the success of decentralisation is less than hoped and the regions are finding it difficult to emancipate. At the same time, the regionalisation policies of the European Union ("Regional Europe") sees itself confronted by the definite intentions of the French state to only participate in the integration as a complete and uniform unit, and not as a territory, cut up into regions. These are, after all, reliant on Paris for their contacts with Brussels. In addition to this, it may appear paradox but the central government appears to use these regions (which became regional legislative bodies in 1982) as an instrument of these policies. Additionally, two regional development laws of a more recent origin have strengthened the influence of the state in the regions by deconcentration. Is this not again the old "rule" seen throughout French history that each attempt at decentralisation simply provokes measures of re centralisation? These dialectics appears to be confirmed in the state policies with regard to the state capital, the metropolis of Paris: On the one hand, the unitarian state can neither tolerate a local competitor which is too strong, nor tolerate that competitor as an element which contradicts the policies of equality. On the other hand, the region Ile-de-France and the city of Paris do not wish to see stopped the dynamic progress of the metropolis. However, the state, the region and the city - they are all united in their determination to ensure that the capital city occupies an excellent position within Europe. This intention is even a necessity: the network of cities outside and in the shadow of Paris is insufficiently strengthened and balanced to align to the EU network, and it is therefore necessary to seek support from the capital city. In this way, the necessity of continually improving the infrastructure of the Ile-de-France (accommodation, roads) and the voluntaristic activities , born of ambition (presidential monumental buildings, third international airport, etc.) are inseparably linked with each other. France, with its centralist tradition, and its "provinces" which are still overshadowed by the omnipotent, big-headed metropolis, has difficulty integrating itself into the European Union. This should be respected, and it should not be demanded too quickly that they simply give up their established, almost 1000 year old structures. At the same time, however, Europe is currently taking on forms, and this process still permits alignment. Is it not therefore necessary that all member states and Brussels think carefully about how many countries with such different profiles can be brought together in a more flexible manner?
Keywords France; EU; zoning; centralism; decentralization; integration; European integration; region; national identity; regionalization; influence; Europe; population development; capital city; promotion; transport network
Classification Area Development Planning, Regional Research; European Politics
Document language German
Publication Year 1997
Page/Pages p. 2-11
Journal Europa Regional, 5.1997 (1997) 4
ISSN 0943-7142
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications