TERRITORIAL COMMUNITIES

Article 72.
The territorial communities of the Republic shall be the Communes, the Departments, the Regions, the Special-Status communities and the Overseas Territorial communities to which article 74 applies. Any other territorial community created, if need be, to replace one or more communities provided for by this paragraph shall be created by statute.
Territorial communities may take decisions in all matters arising under powers that can best be exercised at their level.
In the conditions provided for by statute, these communities shall be self-governing through elected councils and shall have power to make regulations for matters coming within their jurisdiction.
In the manner provided for by an Institutional Act, except where the essential conditions for the exercise of public freedoms or of a right guaranteed by the Constitution are affected, territorial communities or associations thereof may, where provision is made by statute or regulation, as the case may be, derogate on an experimental basis for limited purposes and duration from provisions laid down by statute or regulation governing the exercise of their powers.
No territorial community may exercise authority over another. However, where the exercising of a power requires the combined action of several territorial communities, one of those communities or one of their associations may be authorised by statute to organise such combined action.
In the territorial communities of the Republic, the State representative, representing each of the members of the Government, shall be responsible for national interests, administrative supervision and compliance with the law.

Article 72 (A)
The conditions in which voters in each territorial community may use their right of petition to ask for a matter within the powers of the community to be entered on the agenda of its Deliberative Assembly shall be determined by statute.
In the conditions determined by an Institutional Act, draft decisions or acts within the powers of a territorial community may, on the initiative of the latter, be submitted for a decision by voters of said community by means of a referendum.
When the creation of a special-status territorial community or modification of its organisation are contemplated, a decision may be taken by statute to consult the voters registered in the relevant communities. Voters may also be consulted on changes to the boundaries of territorial communities in the conditions determined by statute.

Article 72 (B)
Territorial communities shall enjoy revenue of which they may dispose freely in the conditions determined by statute.
They may receive all or part of the proceeds of taxes of all kinds. They may be authorised by statute to determine the basis of assessment and the rates thereof, within the limits set by such statutes.
Tax revenue and other own revenue of territorial communities shall, for each category of territorial community, represent a decisive share of their revenue. The conditions for the implementation of this rule shall be determined by an Institutional Act.
Whenever powers are transferred between central government and the territorial communities, revenue equivalent to that given over to the exercise of those powers shall also be transferred. Whenever the effect of newly created or extended powers is to increase the expenditure to be borne by territorial communities, revenue as determined by statute shall be allocated to said communities.
Equalisation mechanisms intended to promote equality between territorial communities shall be provided for by statute.

Article 72 (C)
The Republic shall recognise the overseas populations within the French people in a common ideal of liberty, equality and fraternity.
Guadeloupe, Guyane, Martinique, La Réunion, Mayotte, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, the Wallis and Futuna Islands and French Polynesia shall be governed by article 73 as regards overseas departments and regions and for the territorial communities set up under the final paragraph of article 73, and by article 74 for the other communities.
The status of New Caledonia shall be governed by title XIII.
The legislative system and special organisation of the French Southern and Antarctic Territories and Clipperton shall be determined by statute.

Article 72 (D)
No change of status as provided for by articles 73 and 74 with respect to the whole or part of any one of the communities to which the second paragraph of article 72-3 applies, shall take place without the prior consent of voters in the relevant community or part of a community being sought in the manner provided for by the paragraph below. Such change of status shall be made by an Institutional Act.
The President of the Republic may, on a recommendation from the Government when Parliament is in session or on a joint motion of the two Houses, published in either case in the Journal Officiel, decide to consult voters in an overseas territorial community on a question relating to its organisation, its powers or its legislative system. Where the referendum concerns a change of status as provided for by the foregoing paragraph and is held in response to a recommendation by the Government, the Government shall make a statement before each House which shall be followed by debate.

Article 73.
In the overseas departments and regions, statutes and regulations shall be automatically applicable. They may be adapted in the light of the specific characteristics and constraints of such communities.
Those adaptations may be decided on by the communities in areas in which their powers are exercised if the relevant communities have been empowered to that end by statute.
By way of derogation from the first paragraph hereof and in order to take account of their specific features, communities to which this article applies may be empowered by statute to determine themselves the rules applicable in their territory in a limited number of matters that fall to be determined by statute.
These rules may not concern nationality, civic rights, the guarantees of civil liberties, the status and capacity of persons, the organisation of justice, criminal law, criminal procedure, foreign policy, defence, public security and public order, currency, credit and exchange, or electoral law. This list may be clarified and amplified by an Institutional Act.
The two foregoing paragraphs shall not apply in the department and region of La Réunion.
The powers to be conferred pursuant to the second and third paragraphs hereof shall be determined at the request of the relevant territorial community in the conditions and subject to the reservations provided for by an Institutional Act. They may not be conferred where the essential conditions for the exercise of civil liberties or of a right guaranteed by the Constitution are affected.
The setting up by statute of a territorial community to replace an overseas department and region or a single Deliberative Assembly for the two communities shall not be carried out unless the consent of the voters registered there has first been sought as provided by the second paragraph of article 72-4.

Article 73 (A)
In the overseas departments and regions, statutes and regulations shall be automatically applicable. They may be adapted in the light of the specific characteristics and constraints of such communities.
Those adaptations may be decided on by the communities in areas in which their powers are exercised if the relevant communities have been empowered to that end by statute or by regulation, whichever is the case.
By way of derogation from the first paragraph hereof and in order to take account of their specific features, communities to which this article applies may be empowered by statute or by regulation, whichever is the case, to determine themselves the rules applicable in their territory in a limited number of matters that fall to be determined by statute or by regulation.
These rules may not concern nationality, civic rights, the guarantees of civil liberties, the status and capacity of persons, the organisation of justice, criminal law, criminal procedure, foreign policy, defence, public security and public order, currency, credit and exchange, or electoral law. This list may be clarified and amplified by an Institutional Act.
The two foregoing paragraphs shall not apply in the department and region of La Réunion.
The powers to be conferred pursuant to the second and third paragraphs hereof shall be determined at the request of the relevant territorial community in the conditions and subject to the reservations provided for by an Institutional Act. They may not be conferred where the essential conditions for the exercise of civil liberties or of a right guaranteed by the Constitution are affected.
The setting up by statute of a territorial community to replace an overseas department and region or a single Deliberative Assembly for the two communities shall not be carried out unless the consent of the voters registered there has first been sought as provided by the second paragraph of article 72-4.

Article 74.
The Overseas territorial communities to which this article applies shall have a status reflecting their respective local interests within the Republic.
This status shall be determined by an Institutional Act, passed after consultation of the Deliberative Assembly, which shall specify:
  1. the conditions in which statutes and regulations shall apply there;
  2. the powers of the territorial community; subject to those already exercised by said community the transfer of central government powers may not involve any of the matters listed in paragraph four of article 73, as specified and completed, if need be, by an Institutional Act;
  3. the rules governing the organisation and operation of the institutions of the territorial community and the electoral system for its Deliberative Assembly;
  4. the conditions in which its institutions are consulted on Government or Private Members’ Bills and draft Ordinances or draft Decrees containing provisions relating specifically to the community and to the ratification or approval of international undertakings entered into in matters within its powers.
The Institutional Act may also, for such territorial communities as are self-governing, determine the conditions in which:
  1. the Conseil d’État shall exercise specific judicial review of certain categories of decisions taken by the Deliberative Assembly in matters which are within the powers vested in it by statute;
  2. the Deliberative Assembly may amend a statute promulgated after the coming into effect of the new status of said territorial community where the Constitutional Council, acting in particular on a referral from the authorities of the territorial community, has found that statute law has intervened in a field within the powers of said Assembly;
  3. measures justified by local needs may be taken by the territorial community in favour of its population as regards access to employment, the right of establishment for the exercise of a professional activity or the protection of land;
  4. the community may, subject to review by the central government, participate in the exercise of the powers vested in it while showing due respect for the guaranties given throughout national territory for the exercising of civil liberties.
The other rules governing the specific organisation of the territorial communities to which this article applies shall be determined and amended by statute after consultation with their Deliberative Assembly.

Article 74 (A)
In the Overseas territorial communities referred to by Article 74 and in New Caledonia, the Government may, in matters which remain within the power of the State, extend by Ordinance, with any necessary adaptations, the statutory provisions applying in mainland France, or adapt the statutory provisions applying, to the specific organization of the community in question, provided statute law has not expressly excluded the use of this procedure for the provisions involved.
Such Ordinances shall be issued in the Council of Ministers after receiving the opinion of the relevant Deliberative Assemblies and the Conseil d’État. They shall come into force upon publication. They shall lapse if they are not ratified by Parliament within eighteen months of their publication.

Article 75.
Citizens of the Republic who do not have ordinary civil status, the sole status referred to in Article 34, shall retain their personal status until such time as they have renounced the same.

Article 75 (A)
Regional languages are part of France’s heritage.