Fewer regions may save €25bn a year

“It’s hard to explain to investors from China or America that France has two Normandies,” secretary of state says

8 May 2014
By

CUTTING the number of regions in France could shave €25bn annually from the €250bn local government budget.

Secretary of state for territorial reform André Vallini said in an interview with Dauphine Libéré: “Capitalising on economies of scale and deleting duplicate services could eventually save between 5% to 10% - or between €12bn and €25bn in the medium term.

“That’s a lot - and that’s not to mention the time savings and efficiency that are difficult to quantify but are undoubtedly very important.”

He said that the government was planning to cut the number of regions from 22 to 12.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the government was planning to cut the number of regions to 15.

One advantage the government sees is that a redrawn map of France could make the country more attractive to foreign investors.

"Our goal is to create a dozen major regions which will make them more attractive to overseas investors," Mr Vallini said

“It’s hard to explain to potential investors from China or America that France has two Normandies,” he said.

Haute Normandie and Basse Normandie were created in 1956, when the historical Normandy region was split in two.

The reduction would result in “shortening the time it takes to make decisions, simplifying bureaucracy and streamlining and improving services,” he said.

Mr Vallini was speaking after President Francois Hollande said during an interview with BFMTV on Tuesday that he had asked Prime Minister Manuel Valls to speed up plans for territorial reform.

Regional elections, which are scheduled for June 2015, may be postponed so that the new map of France will be in place before voters go to the polls.

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