Regional Policy and Development of France
Regional Economic and Policy
Ing. Štefan Rehák, PhD.
The Faculty of National Economy
Summer Term 2010
I. Introduction 3
II. History of regional Policy in France 4
III. Nature of regional problems 6
A. Regional Disparities 6B. Transport 6
C. Population 7
D. ECONOMICAL AND SOCIAL ASPECTS 9
IV. Government Policy to Reduce Disparities 12
France is a country located in Western Europe. It has the largest territory from all the EU members. Some of its overseas islands and territory are located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans. France has been a major powerfor many centuries, with strong economic, military, educational and political influence. The politics it keeps leads to high standard of living; high public education level; one of the best healthcare systems in the world and also – one of the world’s high life-expectancies. It comes as not a big surprise that it possesses the fifth largest economy by nominal GDP and seventh largest economy bypurchasing power parity.
France is divided into 26 administrative regions, 4 of those are overseas regions. These regions are further subdivided into 100 departments, which are divided by 341 arrondissements, which are in turn divided into 4 032 cantons. These cantons are then divided into 36 680 communes, which are municipalities with an elected municipal council. There also exist 2 588intercommunal entities grouping 33 414 of the 36 680 communes (i.e. 91.1% of all the communes). Three communes - Paris, Lyon and Marseille are also subdivided into 45 municipal arrondissements.
The regions, departments and communes are all known as territorial collectivities, meaning they possess local assemblies as well as an executive. Arrondissements and cantons are merely administrative divisions.However, this was not always the case. Until 1940, the arrondissements were also territorial collectivities with an elected assembly, but these were suspended by the Vichy regime and definitely abolished by the Fourth Republic in 1946. Historically, the cantons were also territorial collectivities with their elected assemblies.
Pic.1 The 22 regions and 94 departments of Metropolitan France includingCorsica.
In this paper we’re going to take a closer look to French regional policy with its objectives and the ways to do that in practice. We’re going to rise up differences and problems among and between the regions and also how and why and in which extent those should solve and with what tools. There also comes question, when it’s sensible to make that kind of policy and what negativeaffects it might raise.
II. History of regional Policy in France
Regional policy is a deliberate policy of economic activity whose purpose is to influence the level of different regions, such as municipalities, regions, provinces and countries in economic and social development.
The development of regional policy was instigated by a book entitled Paris and the French Desert which was publishedin 1947 by M.J.F. Gravier. In his book Gravier argued that the excessive growth of Paris was resulting in stagnation for the rest of France. In 1881 the Paris region contained only 5 percent of the total population of France, but by 1975 that proportion had grown to 19 percent. But that dramatic rise in the concentration of population of France in Paris does not do justice to the extent of theproblem. Between 1880 and 1936 3.3 people moved from the provinces to Paris resulting in a decline in the population of France outside of Paris and a tripling of the population of Paris. Between 1896 and 1936 industrial employment in Paris increased by 45 percent but probably declined in the rest of France. Some of the growth of Paris may have been due to natural market factors but much of it was...