France is divided into 26 régions, further subdivided into départements.
Regions do not have legislative autonomy, nor can they issue regulations. They do levy taxes (or, rather, the national government gives them a portion of the taxes it levies) and have sizeable, though not considerable budgets.
Their main legal attribution is to build and pay equipment costs for high schools; in March 2004, the French national government announced a controversial plan to transfer to regions categories of non-teaching school personnel. Critics of this plan contend that it is doubtful than sufficient fiscal resources for these additional charges will be transferred, and that such measures will increase inequalities between regions.
Apart from these legal attributions, regions have considerable discretionary spending for infrastructure (education, public transportation systems, aid to universities and research, support for entrepreneurs). Because of this, being president of a wealthy region such as Île-de-France or Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur may be quite a high profile position.
There are, from time to time, discussions about giving limited legislative autonomy to regions, but such proposals are controversial. There are also proposals to suppress the local governments of the départements and to folding them into the régions, keeping the départements only as administrative subdivisions.
Regions do not have legislative autonomy, nor can they issue regulations.
Apart from these legal attributions, regions have considerable discretionary spending for infrastructures (education, public transportation systems, help to universities and research, support for entrepreneurs).
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