It is neither a regional council, nor a super department. This Friday, January 1 marks the birth of the European Collectivity of Alsace (CEA), which merges the departmental councils of Bas-#Rhin and Haut-#Rhin. The creation of this hybrid structure, unique in France, responds to a strong demand from Alsatians, many of whom considered the Alsatian identity diluted since 2015 in the Grand Est region.
The approximately 1.9 million Alsatians affected, however, will remain in the fold of the new region. In addition, and even if the two departmental councils disappear, the administrative entities (Bas-#Rhin and Haut-#Rhin) remain, just like their prefectures, Strasbourg and Colmar.
The CEA, which brings together 880 municipalities and whose budget reaches 2 billion euros, inherits the powers traditionally devolved to departmental councils such as the management of 147 colleges, social assistance and senior citizens as well as fire and rescue services. . But it is also endowed with new skills which mark its specificity.
Thus, it will be able to organize its own cross-border cooperation plan with neighboring Germany and Switzerland, in areas such as cross-border links or health. The ECA will also have free rein in matters of bilingualism, being able to recruit on its own initiative speakers to teach German, in addition to national programs.
It will see the transfer of departmental and national roads as well as non-licensed highways (in total, 6,410 km of roads and 4,550 cycle routes), on which it could for example, for example, eventually introduce a heavy vehicle charge in order to regulate their transit.
In passing, motorists will be able to affix on their number plates the “To heart”, symbol appearing an “A” in a heart which also evokes a pretzel, chosen after a consultation last October.
Alsatian motorists will be able to affix a new license plate featuring a pretzel on their vehicles. (MAXPPP)
Likewise, the ECA will have the upper hand over tourism, an important part of the local economy, which generates 2.5 billion euros in income and 39,000 jobs even if it has been undermined by the health crisis.
The first meeting of the ECA is scheduled for September 2 in Colmar (Haut-#Rhin), but the question of the future headquarters should not be resolved until September 2021. This European community will mobilize 6,000 agents and 80 “advisers from Alsace “, new name of the departmental councilors (46 in the Bas-#Rhin, 34 in the Haut-#Rhin) who will sit until the next elections in June, where the new elected officials will be appointed for a six-year term.
There is also uncertainty about the presidency of the new community. The president of the Bas-#Rhin departmental council, Republican Frédéric Bierry, has already declared his candidacy. but between now and the election, it is the oldest member of the assembly who will chair the CEA, in this case Yves Le Tallec, 83, also a member of LR.