In brief

Alsace launches non-binding vote on withdrawal from Grand Est region

Alsatian president seeks to introduce issue into French presidential campaign

The consultation is unveiled; Frédéric Bierry speaks.
The consultation is unveiled; Frédéric Bierry speaks. Author: Collectivité européenne d\'Alsace
The European Collectivity of Alsace has launched a non-binding consultation in which it is asking its citizens whether the Rhine country should withdraw from the Grand Est region and “become a full-fledged region again.”

Alsace Collectivity President Frédéric Bierry has pledged to pass on to “all the candidates” to the French presidential election the demand that Alsace should become an official region again if a majority of its inhabitants so support in the consultation. Voting will close on 15 February 2022. The presidential election is scheduled for April.

Alsace was a region of its own until 1 January 2016, when it was merged with Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine into the new Grand Est region, on the basis of the NOTRe law, passed by the French National Assembly.

The merger was unpopular with Alsatians. In 2019 the departmental councils of Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin approved the creation of the European Collectivity of Alsace, which on 1 January 2021 took over the competences of both departments and received some additional ones. However, the Alsace Collectivity has fewer competences and resources than a region.

According to a survey, 68% of Alsatians want to take back their region and leave the Grand Est. Bierry is of the same opinion.

According to the information the Alsace Collectivity has released on the consultation website, regaining an own region would mean “bringing decisions closer to the inhabitants,” “ensuring that Alsatians’ tax money goes to projects that affect them”, “simplifying the lives of Alsatians,” and having a region that “corresponds to our history, geography and identity.”