Analysis of the Letchimy law (France): "Freeing up external action of French local and regional authorities"February 2017
The “law relating to external action of territorial authorities and to the cooperation of overseas territories in their regional environment” was adopted on 5 December 2016.
This law*, commonly known as the “Letchimy” law after the member of parliament Serge Letchimy who proposed it, modified article L1115-5 of the General Code for Local Authorities (CGCT), thus lifting restrictions on the external action of local and regional authorities. Indeed, the new dispositions allow, under certain conditions, for French local and regional authorities to sign conventions with States. This possibility, previously confined to the legal framework of existing European instruments, listed limitingly in the first subparagraph of article L1115-5, has now been extended “for the needs of a territorial or regional cooperation”.
The field of external action of French local and regional authorities has been opened up to include all anterior international accords approved by France, to the execution of all regional cooperation programmes also approved by France, and also to any other future cross-border, regional or inter-territorial cooperation grouping. This evolution, which has been progressive, attempts to allow French local and regional authorities to further develop their exchanges with the countries in their regional environment. Indeed, while the current decentralised regional cooperation has been meeting some success, obstacles, both de jure and de facto, persist and limit its full effectiveness. Thus, the Letchimy law gives local and regional authorities a clear legal framework for their cooperation efforts, which only serves to legitimise their outreach within their respective regional environments.
And although the law aims essentially to overcome the obstacles to the external cooperation of overseas territorial authorities mentioned in article 73 of the French Constitution of 1958, it brings about a major evolution for all French territorial authorities, particularly those situated on borders, as they now have the capacity to pursue a “diplomacy of proximity”.
For further information:
- The Letchimy law [FR].
- M. Serge Letchimy’s report from the presentation of the draft law relating to the external action of territorial authorities and to the cooperation of overseas territories in their regional environment, before the French National Assembly on 16/03/2016 [FR].
* In French: “Loi relative à l’action extérieure des collectivités territoriales et à la coopération des outre-mer dans leur environnement regional”Back to list