General Data
Name of instrument Public establishment of intermunicipal cooperation (Établissement public de coopération intercommunale - EPCI)
Country FR
Spatial level local
Type Voluntary approaches and agreements / cooperation
Subtype Voluntary, but binding contracts
Description Due to the small average size of French municipalities, and conversely to their limited financial resources, the legislator encouraged communes to group together voluntarily to manage public facilities and services (waste treatment, water and sanitation, school bus services, construction and management of collective facilities, etc.) and continue to carry out joint projects, notably in the field of urban land planning and economic development (residential areas, activity areas, urban renewal undertakings, etc), for which they substitute to single communes .Intercommunal cooperation is expressed through several types of public intercommunal cooperation establishments (EPCI). One distinguishes the EPCI funded through their members' contributions and the fiscally independent EPCI, which endowed with their own tax system, and are in position to set up real development projects. Amongst these: - Commune communities are a grouping of communes, intended to draw up a joint development and land planning policy in an urban or rural area, on a continuous, unbroken territory (set of contiguous communes, without closed communities) having less than 50000 inhabitants Whereas they are required to take responsibility for land planning and undertakings toward economic development, commune communities may choose at least two types of additional powers from the following list of four: the environment; housing and everyday environment policy; roads; cultural, sporting and educational facilities. From amongst these, they also determine which of these will remain under the power of the communes. Their resources include, most notably, an overall operating endowment (DGF) coming from the State (which is higher in the case they standardize the TPU, i.e. the corporate tax rates), and from additional taxes they raise on households (housing tax, landed property tax). - Agglomeration communities which also make up a single, unbroken geographic entity and include at least 50000 inhabitants, with the central having at least 15000 inhabitants. It has full authority in the filed of economic development, land planning, socially diverse housing and city politics. In addition, it must choose three optional powers from the following list: communal-interest road management, sanitation, environmental protection and promotion, water, and management of sporting and cultural facilities. With regard to their resources, main differences with the commune communities are that State funding through the DGF is higher, in average per inhabitant, and that rates of the TPU must be standardized. EPCI are under the control of a commission, chaired by the representative of the State in the department and made up representatives of communal, departmental, regional elected officials and EPCI. The departmental commission establishes and holds up to date a state of the inter-commune co-operation in the department and can formulate any proposal to strengthen this co-operation. Moreover, it is consulted on any project of creation of an EPCI, of withdrawal of a commune from a EPCI and on any project of extension of the perimeter of a EPCI with own tax system. Commune and agglomeration communities are managed by a council, composed of deputy elected officials by the municipal councils, which names the executive. Seats within the council are fixed by friendly agreement of the whole municipal councils or according to the population. In both cases, each commune at least has a seat and no commune can have more than half of the seats.
General objectives Organise and rationalize locally public services whose communes are responsible; promote co-operation between communes
General objectives keywords inter-municipal cooperation; ;
Responsible Local authority/Municipal council
Stakeholder Involved Regional authority; National authority;
Reference Reinforcement and the simplification of the inter-commune co-operation law of July 12th, 1999
General assessment of strength and weakness Great success in implementing these intercommunal cooperation structures, but they raise fundamental questions: their legitimacy, since the executive is named by the representatives, and not elected; their capacity to implement overall actions exceeding the particular interests of each commune, especially when a commune exceeds in importance other communes. EPCI are commonly in charge of establishing all supra-municipal planning documents
Date of entry 2007/02/16
Legal status not-mandatory for responsible body, BUT mandatory for end-user
Extension very frequent (> 50 % municipalities)
Comment Presently most Alpine communes have joined a commune community (in rural areas) or an agglomeration community (in urban areas). See EPCI detail in
Type of monitoring Mixture of quantitative and qualitative reporting
Preconditions for implementation
General comment
Status strong indirect relevance
Ranking 2
Remark intercommunal cooperation is expected to lead to a more reasonable handling of land ressources, also by sharing infrastructure (e.g. waste water treating)
Status municipal administration. Local economy, environmental NGOs, municipal residents, superordinate administrations
Ranking 5
Status -
Ranking 5
Remark -
Status Budget, staff, legislation, political will
Ranking 2
Remark -
Status Direction of the effect, perpetuity
Ranking 2
Remark Intermunicipal cooperation is generally more likely to produce effects than one municipality, but an assessment of effectiveness depends whether development objectives are in line with sustainable land resource management and on the institutional framework (financial independant bodies or not). Appears to be a good tool to reduce intermunicipal competition. No direct election, therefore acceptance limited.