28 communes, a single territory
The Eurometropolis has 28 member communes:
Bischheim, Blaesheim, Eckbolsheim, Eckwersheim, Entzheim, Eschau, Fegersheim, Geispolsheim, Hoenheim, Holtzheim, Illkirch-Graffenstaden, Lampertheim, Lingolsheim, Lipsheim, Mittelhausbergen, Mundolsheim, Niederhausbergen, Oberhausbergen, Oberschaeffolsheim, Ostwald, Plobsheim, Reichstett, Schiltigheim, Souffelweyersheim, Strasbourg, Vendenheim, La Wantzenau, Wolfisheim.
The political framework
As of 1st January 2015, the Urban Community of Strasbourg has become the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg, a legally recognized metropolis.
The Eurometropolis is a form of intercommunal cooperation based on financial solidarity and defence of joint interests. While maintaining the independence of the individual communes, the Eurometropolis offers a better management structure and opens up a broader range of developments in the areas which come under its responsibility.
The organisation of the urban community is based on that of the communes. It comprises:
- A legislative body: the Eurometropolis Council,
- An executive body: the Chairperson, assisted by his or her vice chairs.
Like the City, the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg has specific areas of responsibility and manages its own budget.
The Chairperson is the executive body of the urban community. He or she is responsible for preparing and carrying out the decisions of the Community Council
He or she has specific powers and represents the urban community in all acts of civil life. He or she is the Chief Executive of the community employees and, as such, is responsible for appointments, promotions and disciplinary measures..
He or she can delegate responsibilities in certain areas to his or her vice-chairs.
The chairperson of the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg is Robert Herrmann, who took office on the 1st January 2015, day of its creation.
Past chairpersons of the Urban Community of Strasbourg:
- Pierre PFLIMLIN (1907-2000) Chairperson from 1 January 1968 to 27 May 1983
- Marcel RUDLOFF (1923-1996) Chairperson from 27 May 1983 to 19 May 1989
- Catherine TRAUTMANN (1951- ) Chairperson from 19 May 1989 to 4 July 1997
- Roland RIES (1945- ) Chairperson from 4 July 1997 to 7 January 2000
- Catherine TRAUTMANN (1951- ) Chairperson from 7 January 2000 to 20 April 2001
- Robert GROSSMANN (1940- ) Chairperson from 20 April 2001 to 28 April 2008
- Jacques BIGOT (1952- ) Chairperson from 28 April 2008 to 11 April 2014
- Robert HERRMANN (1955- ) Chairperson since 11 April 2014
The Eurometropolis Council
The Eurometropolis Council (previously "Community Council) is not elected by direct universal suffrage. It is made up of elected members of member communes, appointed by their respective municipal councils.
Logically therefore, they are appointed for a period of six years, following municipal elections. The Eurometropolis Council elects the Chairperson from among its members and the Vice-Chairs who make up the bureau.
The Council is made up of 90 members appointed by the communes: the Chairperson, 21 Vice-Chairs and 68 community councillors. The number of representatives of each communeis based on their respective populations.
In Strasbourg, the Eurometropolis Council meets 10 times a year, usually on Fridays. The meetings are held in public.
The agenda is set out by the Chairperson, and the individual items are discussed in closed sessions by either
- The bureau, comprising the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairs, or
- The plenary commission, which comprises all the members
These bodies can express their opinions, and put forward amendments concerning a point, before the item goes before the Eurometropolis Council.
Like the City Council, the Eurometropolis Council debates its decisions and the proceedings are posted on panels located at the entrance of the administrative centre. They are also listed in a "register of administrative acts of the Eurometropolis", which is published twice yearly and made available to the public
The Council also works with five special committees ("General affairs", "town planning, development, housing, travel and the upkeep of public spaces", "economy, attractiveness and development", "major public environmental services", " human services and rights".
These committees comprise Eurometropolis councillors and also elected representatives of the communes, appointed by the respective Mayors to attend the meetings.
The Eurometropolis of Strasbourg in figures
Some key figures:
- Population: 477,502 (2011 census)
- Surface area: 315.93 km²
- Date of creation : 1st January 2015 (Urban Community of Strasbourg from the 31st December 1966 to the 31th December 2014)
- Start of operations: 1 January 1968 (as Urban Community of Strasbourg)
60 % of the population of the Eurometropolis is in Strasbourg. The Eurometropolis of Strasbourg includes 45 % of the population of the Bas-Rhin and over a quarter of the population of Alsace as a whole. Between 1999 and 2005, the population of Alsace increased by 3.5%, compared to 2.9% for the rest of mainland France. The region's annual population growth rate, at 0.68%, is therefore above the national average, but has come down since the ten years spanning 1990 to 1999 (0.73%).
A single administration
A unique feature of the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg is that the administrative services of the Community (the actual Eurometropolis) and the City have shared the same administration since 1972. Staff on the Eurometropolis payroll also perform administrative work for the City of Strasbourg, which in turn makes a payment each year to the Eurometropolis for the cost of these services. The system results in considerable cost savings along with a more efficient management system.
It is clear that the economic services of the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg carry more punch than those available to a small (or large) commune acting alone and this gives the Eurometropolis added leverage in its dealings with the State and helps it obtain additional funding and credits, for example for sensitive zones or job-drivers such as ZAC concerted development areas.
The working arrangement between communes is built on an ad hoc basis, according to needs, and is governed by a principle of equality between the communes. The decision-taking process involves several levels of consultation, which include informal meetings with the Mayors and technicians, committees, deliberations in closed sessions of the Council following public debate, etc.
Over the last few years, the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg has shown itself to be a pioneer in intercommunal cooperation. Its field of responsibilities is gradually extending to cover areas such as culture, tourism and sport through the provision of new facilities. The notion of action within a conurbation as a whole is progressively taking over from that of strictly communal framework, and this is set to be a driving force for major projects benefiting a population base of some 500,000 inhabitants.
Although the 28 communes within the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg are all run independently as regards the daily life of their inhabitants and their specific cultural identity, intercommunality also plays a major role, bringing major benefits in a number of areas, including the road network and signposting, urban transport (including the tram), water supply and sanitation services, refuse collection and also town planning, housing and economic and international development. All the inhabitants of the Eurometropolis are beneficiaries of these jointly-run services which are based on the principle of solidarity.
The new governance of the Eurometropolis is based on the principle of territorial intercommunality, which sets out to encourage intercommunality through community-based local cooperation designed to drive deeper discussion of crosscutting projects and bring thematic approaches into line with the community's catchment areas. In May 2008, a specific structure was set up to enable intercommunal discussion throughout the six intercommunal sectors (inner suburbs North, outer suburbs North, West, South West, South and Strasbourg). The meetings are facilitated by Eurometropolis Vice-Chairs responsible for coordination and community policy and go side-by-side with the more institutional consultations that take place as part of the monthly meetings between the Mayors and the Chairperson. Another major aim of the meetings is to gain a better insight into the needs of the communes and their inhabitants.
The Eurometropolis has a certain number of both mandatory and voluntary responsibilities over and above those of the member communes. It obtained several new powers after its evolution on the 1st Januaty 2015.
It is also an important partner of the State in other areas which do not come under its direct legal responsibility.
There are two main areas of responsibility: management and public services:
- Drawing up master plans, and land-use plans and establishing real estate reserves
- Creating and providing facilities for concerted development areas (ZAC): housing areas, industrial zones and small business areas
- Contributing to school running expenses and facilities
- Emergency and firefighting services
- Urban transport systems
- Water supply, sanitation and hygiene
- The creation and extension of cemeteries
- The "market of national interest" (MIN)
- Car parks and parking
- Roads and signposting
- Economic, university and scientific development
- New technologies