17 January, 2014

The decrease of the number of French regions may marginalize Angers

The decrease of the number of regions and the boundary evolutions of administrative territories introduced on January 13th by François Hollande, the France president, could bring some changes for Angers as well as numerous cities. While there are 22 regions in the metropolitan territory, including the Pays de la Loire, so the Maine-et-Loire and Angers, the idea is to keep only 15 of them. Such a decrease may widen some existing regions but it could also contract others and perhaps leads to the disappearance of some, including the Pays de la Loire. So the future of Angers could be changed, something what doesn't let indifferent the four main challengers to Angers mayor office.

On the left, the current mayor, Frédéric Béatse, considers that the priority consists in a clarification of competences between all France administrative levels commonly called the "mille-feuille". If Mr. Béatse doesn't question the management of the Pays de la Loire, he doesn't rule out that "an appropriate size" is something necessary to consider even if "we need to clarify, to simplify some competences, 'who does what?', that would already be an improvement". Jean-Luc Rotureau, his challenger of the left, looks more clear-cut : "The choice in favour of a new region is necessary provided that everything be also reorganized like the departments and the cooperation between cities".

On the right side, Laurent Gérault is also unequivocal : "I am favourable to a merging between regions for administrative efficiency, optimization of expenses and territories' attractiveness on the European scale" adding that he would vote a "merging of Bretagne and Pays de la Loire regions" even if he doesn't deny the risks of an hyper concentration of functions around Nantes [Pays de la Loire capital] and Rennes [Bretagne capital]. That hypothesis has been taken in account by Christophe Béchu who refuses that Angers and Maine-et-Loire be included in a widened Centre region because in those circumstances, "Angers would be located on the rims of that new area" (a danger which nevertheless exists with the merger of Bretagne and Pays de la Loire). Mr. Béchu wonders if the constitution of regions based on the Western France European constituencies (Bretagne, Pays de la Loire and Poitou-Charentes) would not be better for Angers

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