• In December 2021, Frédéric Bierry, the president of the CEA (European Community of Alsace) launched a citizen consultation around the question: “Should Alsace leave the Grand-Est region?


  • Two months later, the organizers estimate that more than 140,000 Alsatians took part in this consultation based on the model of the Swiss votes.

  • However, a massive “yes” would not mean an effective exit of Alsace from the Grand-Est region, explains Arnaud Duranthon, lecturer in public law at Sciences po Strasbourg.

More than a few hours before the verdict of the polls.

This Monday, Frédéric Bierry, president of the CEA (European Community of Alsace) will present the results of the citizen consultation that he himself launched in December.

According to the organizers, in two months, more than 140,000 Alsatians participated in this vote inspired by the Swiss model by answering the question: “Should Alsace leave the Grand-Est region?

But what would be the consequences if the “yes” were to win?


20 Minutes

, Arnaud Duranthon, deputy director in charge of second cycle studies and lecturer in public law at Sciences po Strasbourg, gives some leads.

What impact can the citizen consultation proposed by the European Community of Alsace have on the question of whether or not to leave Alsace in the Grand-Est?

The scope of this consultation is not legal.

This is a political initiative by President Bierry which goes beyond the framework of the local initiative referendum, which the community cannot organize since the subject does not fall within its own competence.

The scope can therefore only be political, helping elected Alsatians to have a more objective element to signal the desire of a majority of Alsatians to benefit from their own region.

What are the legal and/or legislative jurisdictions that would allow Alsace to leave the Grand-Est region?

The determination of local authorities belongs to the legislator.

Only a law could, therefore, review the division adopted in 2015 by undoing what has been done.

But the issue is obviously delicate, because Alsace could open the way to other claims and therefore, possibly, to a more general overhaul of the map of regions...

What would concretely change an exit from Alsace from the Grand-Est, knowing that the CEA already exists?

The CEA is, formally, only a department endowed with a few additional powers, which are moreover quite limited.

The change would therefore have the major effect of returning regional competences to the Alsatian scale, which would absolutely change the nature and strength of the Alsatian community, which would exercise both departmental competences and regional competences, on the model of other communities with special status such as Corsica.

From a purely political point of view, what do you think an exit from Alsace from the Grand-Est would symbolize?

In any case, he would be witness to the fact that the 2015 reform – and this is an overwhelmingly shared opinion – was botched, and that regions are not cut out with a cookie cutter.

We would thus be witnessing one of the only contemporary victories of local pressure on the geographical framework defined by the State, which is not nothing!

The fact remains that a step back will also have some negative effects: it will give the impression, in particular, that Alsace is not interested in the fate of the regions with which it was married, and in particular Lorraine.

Finally, if the "yes" vote were to overwhelmingly prevail, would the candidates in the presidential election, in your opinion, be obliged to seize the result to make it a subject of the campaign, as is hoped? by the president of the ECA?

We must be wary of the magnifying glass effects: if the question is at the heart of the debates in Alsace, it interests very little outside.

Some candidates could thus be quite reserved on the subject so as not to speak out too frankly on the 2015 reform and pave the way for an excessive reform, which will necessarily lead to having to clearly renounce the objectives which had officially animated it.

The fact remains that through this, the question of the decentralization model that we want could – finally!

- get into the discussion...


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  • Strasbourg

  • Territorial reform

  • Reform of local authorities

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