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REGIONS

New map of France finalized as regions settle on names

France has finally settled on a new map after the name of the final new super region was decided on.

New map of France finalized as regions settle on names
Photo: AFP

The new administrative map of France's regions is now complete after the adoption of “Nouvelle Aquitaine” to designate the region in South Western of France.

The name “Nouvelle Aquitaine”– formed from a fusion of l'Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes– was adopted on Monday by the Regional Council.

Alain Rousset, the Socialist president of the region said that the addition of “Nouvelle” to “Aquitaine” was a “way of looking towards the future”.

Not everyone agreed however with the new name, not least the thousands who signed a petition to try and block it.

“The merger of three former regions shouldn't be an annexation of two regions by the third one,” the petition read

“Nouvelle Aquitaine doesn't mean anything,” petition author Hugues Linyer told Le Nouvelle République.
 
“We must find a name of today that respects all identities. I’m Rochelais but there are also Basques, Béarnais, Limousins and Poitevins and we are not Aquitains.”
 
France reorganised its regions in January 2016 in an effort to reorganize regional government and whittle back France’s famous voluminous bureaucracy. The reform shaved the number of French administrative regions on the mainland from 22 to 13.

Some of the new amalgams– such as Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté – opted for a simple merger of their former names.

Others chose to start a fresh after internet consultations.

Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine became Grand-Est while the union of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées was renamed Occitanie.

In March Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardie was baptised Hauts-de-France-  a change that provoked widespread mockery.

One joker pointed out that with Hauts de Fance (that could translate as Upper France), and with the region Great East, a region in central France should be called Middle Earth after the land in fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings.

Six regions – Brittany, Centre-Val de Loire, Corsica, Ile-de-France, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'azur, known as PACA and Pays de la Loire – did not undergo any changes to their boundaries. They will keep their existing names.

The State Council (Conseil d'État), France’s highest administrative body, now has until 1st October to approve the new names.

by Imogen Wallace

 

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BRITTANY

French town of Nantes votes for referendum on exiting Pays-de-la-Loire region

The French city of Nantes is to hold a referendum on exiting the Pays-de-la-Loire region and becoming part of Brittany instead.

French town of Nantes votes for referendum on exiting Pays-de-la-Loire region
Photo: AFP

On Friday the town council of Nantes voted in favour of requesting the French government organise a referendum so local people can have their say about whether they wish to remain in the Pays-de-la-Loire region or become part of Brittany – a region that many say the town has more historic and cultural connections to.

The vote on Friday was carried by 56 votes and concerns whether the département of Loire-Atlantique – which contains Nantes – should move regions.

READ ALSO The 20 essential maps you need to understand Brittany

 

The vote follows a petition in 2018 which gathered 105,000 signatures.

Nantes mayor Johanna Rolland said: “This strong citizen mobilisation cannot be ignored. It reflects the aspiration of our fellow citizens to be consulted to a greater extent, in a context of essential revitalisation of our democracy.”

The desire of people in the Loire-Atlantique to become Breton isn't new.
 
The départment was part of Brittany until World War II, when it was separated and made part of the neighbouring region by the Vichy government. That region eventually became the Pays-de-la-Loire in 1955.
 
The issue has been simmering since then and pro-Breton voices have become louder in recent years as they hope to take advantage of a law that allows départments to chose which region they belong to via a referendum.
 
The town, which is the historic seat of the Dukes of Brittany, also declared its intention to  “set up a permanent pluralist body to engage in a genuine consultation with the State on the organisation of this referendum, organise an in-depth debate on the issues and consequences of a redistribution in order to feed the citizen debate, and formulate proposals to strengthen cooperation between Nantes and the other Breton territories”. 
 
However the referendum will have to be approved by both the national government and the regional authorities.
 

France's regions were reorganised in 2016 and several were merged to create the current 13 regions of mainland France.

Brittany currently covers four départements – Ille-et-Vilaine, Côtes-d'Armor, Finistère and Morbihan – while Pays-de-la-Loire covers Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Sarthe and Vendée. Nantes is currently the largest town in the region.

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