Normandy bridge becomes symbol for campaign for a super region

312_normandy-mapPeople in favour of lower and upper Normandy merging to become a super region chose a spot exactly between the two to show their support for the idea.

Hundreds walked over the Pont de Normandie which crosses the River Seine at Le Havre from upper to lower Normandy to symbolise solidarity by marching and waving flags in support of reunification.

It would seem that the majority of people living in Normandy are in favour. A recent poll found 66% of those living in upper Normandy and 50% in lower Normandy back the idea.

Reunification has been discussed on an off for many years but a few months ago the French government announced it wanted to reduce the number of regions by half, giving rise to calls for the two Normandies to come together.

Just after taking over as Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced last month that the French government will draw up a new regional map for discussion and debate. Regions can put themselves forward but must do so before the regional elections in 2015. If the idea gets approval there could be a single super Normandy region by the first of January 2017.

There are already many joint business and commercial initiatives and a Normandy wide chamber of commerce and tourism board. Some commentators say that Lower Normandy has more to gain in financial terms. It is often seen as the poorer section of Normandy and while there will be a new fast train route from Paris to Rouen, the proposed extension to Caen has been shelved due to the cost in a time of economic austerity.

But there can be considerable rivalry between the two regions. For example the airports in Caen, Lower Normandy, and Deauville, Upper Normandy, have been vying to be seen as the premier air route to and from Normandy.

Then there is also the question of Picardie becoming part of as super region of Normandy. Such a region would indeed be massive, stretching from the Bay of Mont Saint Michel to the Somme.

Laurent Beauvais, president of Lower Normandy and Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, president of Upper Normandy, are both in favour of Picardie becoming part of a super Normandy, although Beauvais is perhaps less enthusiastic. One thing is clear, if a new super region goes ahead Mayer-Rossignol will be backing Rouen as the capital. However, Beauvais thinks that the administration and institutions should be split with other cities such as Caen and Le Havre.

About Ray Clancy

Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

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