A territorial collectivity (or territorial authority, French: collectivité territoriale, previously collectivité locale) is a chartered subdivision of France, with recognized governing authority. It is the generic name for any subdivision (subnational entity) with an elective form of local government and local regulatory authority. The nature of a French territorial collectivity is set forth in Article 72 of the French constitution of 1958, which provides for local autonomy within limits prescribed by law.
- Regions: France has 18 regions.
- Departments: France has 101 departments.
- Metropolis with special statute: France has one metropolis, Greater Lyon. (Not the same as intercommunal metropolis)
- Overseas collectivities (collectivités d'outre-mer, COM): France has five COMs.
- Provinces: There are 3 provinces, all in New Caledonia.
- Communes: There are 36,782 communes. They are found throughout the republic (except for Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, and Wallis and Futuna, which are subdivided differently).
- New Caledonia is the only French local government that is not a collectivité territoriale. It has its own articles in the French constitution. Since it cannot be categorized, it is sometimes unofficially called a collectivité sui generis (although "collectivity" is not, strictly speaking, a legal category). It is also unofficially called a pays (d'outre-mer), because its local legislative assembly (the congress) can rule using its own lois du pays.
- Corsica is the only collectivité territoriale that is within metropolitan France.
- The régions are divided into départements: ROMs are divided into DOMs; New Caledonia is divided into provinces; départements, COMs (except Saint Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, and Wallis and Futuna), DOMs, and provinces all are divided into communes.
- The commune of Poya is the only French subdivision assigned to two upper-level units (the provinces of North and South).
- Paris and some overseas entities belong to two categories.
- Paris is both a département and a commune. It has one mayor and one assembly.
- French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and La Réunion are both ROM and DOM. They each – except Mayotte – have two presidents and two assemblies, although Martinique and French Guiana each have a single assembly from January 2016.
- Each COM has its own statutory law that gives it a particular designation:
- The assembly of a région and of a ROM is the regional council (conseil régional). They are presided over by a president of the regional council (président du conseil régional).
- Corsica's assembly is called the assemblée de Corse (Corsican Assembly). It is also presided over by the president of the regional council.
- The assembly of a département (except Paris) or that of a DOM is called a conseil départemental. They are presided over by a président du conseil départemental.
- The assembly of a province is called an assemblée de province. It is presided over by a président de l'assemblée de province.
- A commune's assembly (except that of Paris) is called a conseil municipal. It is presided over by a mayor (maire).
- The Assembly of French Polynesia is presided over by the président de la Polynésie française.
- Saint Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, and Saint Pierre and Miquelon's assemblies are called conseil territorial. They are presided over by a président du conseil territorial.
- Wallis and Futuna's assembly is called an assemblée territoriale. It is presided over by the prefect (préfet).
- New Caledonia's assembly is called a congrès. It is presided over by the président du gouvernement.
Past and future collectivités territoriales
- The category of overseas territory (territoires d'outre-mer) was eliminated under the constitutional reform of 28 March 2003. French Southern Territories is still a TOM, but this is now a particular designation, not a category. This uninhabited territory no longer is a collectivité territoriale.
- Mayotte and Saint Pierre and Miquelon used to be collectivités territoriales belonging to no category (but with a status close to that of a DOM), sometimes unofficially called collectivité territoriale à statut particulier, or collectivité territoriale d'outre-mer.
- Mayotte held a vote in 2009 to change its status, and it became a ROM in 2011.
- New Caledonia will vote between 2014 and 2019 to change its status, and it may become a COM.
- Corsicans have refused to eliminate the two départements of Corsica (Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse).
- Guadeloupians and Réunionnais have refused to eliminate their ROM and DOM in order to create a unique collectivité territoriale.
- Bridge, F.H.S. (1994). The Council of Europe French-English Legal Dictionary. Council of Europe. p. 37. ISBN 978-92-871-2496-8.
collectivité — community, body, authority, taxpayer. […] collectivité territoriale — territorial authority.
- "Collectivité territoriale" (in French). INSEE.
- "New phase of administrative decentralisation launched" (html). eironline. 2003-04-29. Retrieved 2014-01-03.