With the supreme objective of carbon neutrality in 2050 and the motto of “implementation”, the new ministry bringing together Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion has a national cap that can be declined according to local specificities, which leaves elected officials cautious.

“The ecological transition concerns everyone” and “if we don’t want to leave any French people by the wayside, all the actors and in particular local elected officials must be able to contribute”, explained Amélie de Montchalin on May 20. on the fringes of his arrival at the ministry.

His ministry is placed under the sign of “living well”, “living better, in good health, everywhere in France”.

There will be “in the daily life of the French extremely concrete and locally adapted implementations” of objectives set over the past five years, abounds his cabinet.

The new super ministry combines ecological transition with territorial cohesion, an “extremely important” redistricting according to government spokesperson Olivia Grégoire, and which intends to involve local elected officials more closely in climate and biodiversity efforts.

In this respect, the appointment of Christophe Béchu, Mayor of Angers, as Minister Delegate in charge of local authorities, is an additional guarantee.

The argument hardly hits the mark with the elected officials interviewed, who see in this new ministry at best a “possible impetus” to raise public awareness of the climate emergency, at worst a simple “political architecture”.

In any case, “the communities will have to be helped” and one of the conditions for success will be that “the State does not decide on its own and does not get stuck in hypercentralization as we saw during the crisis. health”, warns André Robert, general delegate of the Association of small towns in France (APVF).

According to him, “the government must” stick as closely as possible to the realities on the ground “and” really draw the conclusions from the dichotomy between France which is doing well, that of the metropolises, and the France of the forgotten, rural France: the divide is extremely strong”.

“Everyone wants to make the ecological transition, mayors have been involved in this field for a long time and are exemplary in this area. But we have to explain to us how to do it without financial means or tools”, comments for his part Cédric Szabo, director of the Association of Rural Mayors of France (AMRF) also surprised by the absence of a portfolio dedicated to rurality, which “yet represents” 88% of the territory and 33% of the population”. New appointments are expected after the legislative elections , recalls the government.

Associations of elected officials point out that the ecological roadmap displayed by the government comes up against budgetary considerations on the ground, against a backdrop of lower grants to communities and soaring energy prices with serious consequences for certain municipalities.

Just last week, the issue of coastal erosion came to illustrate these points of tension. On the one hand, the government wants to apply the Climate and Resilience law of 2021. On the other, two associations of elected officials, including the National Association of Elected Officials of the Littoral (Anel), challenged the tools made available by the State and seized the Council of State in order to obtain legal and financial guarantees for the communes having to adapt to the erosion of the littoral.

“Whatever the architecture of the ministry” of the transitions, “the financial challenge remains important” and “Bercy will have a fundamental role”, therefore believes Mr. Robert.

The other concern of elected officials relates to the dimension of the ministry. It contains in its purse town planning and land use planning, but also transport and housing, two major levers for influencing climate change.

These are “heavy files”, argues Mr. Szabo. In this context, even though the priority is ecological development, “what place will there be left for the cohesion of the territories?”, He wonders.

24/05/2022 18:51:06 –         Paris (AFP) –         © 2022 AFP