Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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France is a unitary state composed of municipalities, departments and regions.

Data: 2016
Local Level: 36 658 municipalities
The municipal council is composed of councillors elected by direct universal suffrage for a six-year term. This deliberative assembly is headed by the mayor.
The mayor and his/her deputies represent the municipality's executive branch. The mayor is elected by and from within the municipal council for a six-year mandate. He/she is in charge of the municipal administration and is assisted by his/her deputies.

Traditional competences

. Registry office functions
. Electoral functions
. Social work
. Education
. Maintenance of municipal roads
. Land development and planning
. Local public order
Decentralised competences

. Urban planning
. Education
. Economic development
. Housing
. Health
. Social work
. Culture


Municipalities benefit from a general competences clause: they can intervene over and above their competencies in all fields of local interest.
It is foreseen for 2014 that all municipalities will be a part of an inter-municipal structure. These structures have limited competences allocated to them by the municipalities.
The city of Paris is both a department and a municipality.
Intermediate level: 96 departments and 3 overseas departments
The general council is the department's deliberative body. It is composed of members elected by direct universal suffrage for a six-year term and half of it is renewed every three years. The council elects its president among its members and is composed of specialised committees.  Since August 2004, general councils can experimentally manage European structural funds.
The president of the general council is the department's executive authority. He/she is elected by and from within the council for three years and is assisted by a permanent committee composed of vice-presidents.
The prefect represents the country's prime minister and the ministers within the department. He/she is in charge of maintaining public order and holds police powers, providing him/her with the status of administrative police authority.  The prefect is also in charge of monitoring the legality of the local authorities' actions.


. Social and health action
. Urban and equipment planning
. Education, culture and heritage
. Economic development
. Environment
Regional authorities: 13 regions and 3 overseas regions
The regional council, called “territorial assembly” in Corsica, is the deliberative body of the region. It is composed of regional councillors elected by direct universal suffrage for a six-year term. The regional council elects its president from among its members. Since August 2004, regional councils can, on an experimental basis, manage European structural funds.
The permanent committee is the region’s deliberative body, which assists the council in the execution of some of its competences. The vice-presidents are members of the permanent commission.
The president is elected by the regional council for six years. He/she is the region's executive body and is at the head of the regional administration. The president's functions are similar to those of the department’s president of the general council.
The prefect of the region is the prefect of the department in which the main city of the region is located. He/she is responsible for the services devolved to the regions by the state. Other competences include relaying the government's policy on major projects, monitoring the legality and compliance of the region’s budgetary acts, and preparing policies for the region's economic, social and territorial development.
. Economic development
. Territorial development and planning
. Transport
. Education and job training programmes
. Culture
. Construction and maintenance of secondary schools
. Health


Corsica has a specific status and represents a self-governing authority with specific institutions (Corsican assembly, executive council).
The act adopted on 16 December 2010 modifies the general organisation of local, departmental and regional authorities starting in 2014.  They notably plan for the creation of a territorial councillor: a single elected representative to preside over the regional and general councils.
There are three types of overseas communities:
. Overseas departments and regions (DOM and ROM)
. Overseas communities
. New Caledonia and the Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF)

CEMR in France

French Association of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions
Director General: Christophe Chaillou
Association française du CCRE
20 rue Alsace Lorraine, 45000 Orléans
Tel.: +33 2 3877 8383
Fax: +33 2 3877 2103
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