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Commune communities in France

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Title: Commune communities in France  
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Commune communities in France


This article is part of the series on
Administrative divisions of France

(incl. overseas regions)

(incl. overseas departments)

Urban communities
Agglomeration communities
Commune communities
Syndicates of New Agglomeration

Associated communes
Municipal arrondissements

Others in Overseas France

Overseas collectivities
Sui generis collectivity
Overseas country
Overseas territory
Clipperton Island

A communauté de communes (French for "community of communes") is a federation of municipalities (communes) in France. It forms a framework within which local tasks are carried out together. It is the least integrated form of intercommunality.

As of January 1, 2007, there are 2,400 communautés de communes in France (2,391 in metropolitan France and 9 in the overseas départements), with 26.48 million people living in them.[1] The population (as of 1999 census) of the communautés de communes ranges from 163,221 inhabitants (Communauté de communes du Grand Parc, gathering Versailles and neighboring communes) to 168 inhabitants (Communauté de communes de la Vallée du Toulourenc, Vaucluse département).

Legal status

The communauté de communes was created by a statute of the French Parliament enacted on February 6, 1992. The statute was modified by the Chevènement Law of 1999.

Unlike the communautés d'agglomération and the communautés urbaines, communautés de communes are not subjected to a minimum threshold of population to come into existence. The only constraint is geographical continuity.

According to the Code général des collectivités territoriales (CGCT) (general law over regional administrative structures), a communauté de communes is a public establishment of inter-communal cooperation (EPCI), formed by several French municipalities, which cover a connected territory without enclave.

In 1999 when the Chevènement Law regulatory modifications came into force, communautés de communes already in existence that did not meet the criterion of geographical continuity were left untouched.

The communes involved build a space of solidarity with a joint project of development, infrastructure building, etc.


The communautés de communes are currently funded by a local tax on businesses known as the taxe professionnelle or, more commonly, by the taxe professionnelle unique a modified version of the tax whereby a proportion of the monies levied by the communautés des communes is paid back to the individual communes. The taxe professionnelle is sometimes presented as an unfair burden on the economy or even as a device for exporting jobs outside France, and it has been subject to a series of reforms over the years but central government undertakings to abolish it (and presumably to replace it) have yet to come to fruition. If they do, funding of the communautés de communes will change fundamentally.

A communauté de communes is administered by a council (conseil communautaire) made up of delegates from the municipal councils of each member commune. The number of seats allocated to each commune reflects the size of the commune. A member commune must have at least one seat on the council, and no individual commune may have more than half of the seats on the conseil communautaire.


Article 5214-16 of the CGCT requires the communauté de communes to exercise its responsibilities in the following policy areas:

  • promotion of economic development across its entire territory
  • management and maintenance of public spaces

The communauté de communes may also choose to exercise its responsibilities in at least one of the following six policy areas:

  • environmental protection and enhancement
  • housing and 'quality of life' policies
  • highway construction, management and maintenance
  • construction, maintenance and operation of buildings and other infrastructure for recreational (cultural and sports related) and educational (primary schooling and pre-schooling) purposes
  • social actions for the common good
  • general improvements (assainissement)

The communauté de communes may define its own personnel requirements and appoint appropriately qualified employees. In addition, and subject to départemental agreement it may exercise directly powers and responsibilities in certain social policy areas which are more normally handled at the départemental level.

Subject to these requirements, it is for the communes themselves to determine precisely which competences they will delegate to the communauté de communes: they will do this based on their view of the individual commune's best interests. Once powers and responsibilities have been delegated to the communauté de communes, they shall be exercised collectively through the communauté de communes and may no longer be exercised independently by individual member communes.

In 2008 there were 2,393 communautés de communes in France. Of these, roughly 1,000 had been in existence for less than a year. New communautés are currently being created at a more rapid rate than in the early years. Nevertheless, there are still many rural communes that have not joined one of these groupings.

Communautés de communes with more than 60,000 inhabitants

(ranked by population as of March 1999 census, in 2007 limits)
(the largest commune in the communauté de communes follows in parentheses)

  1. Communauté de communes du Grand Parc (Versailles) – 163,221 inhabitants
  2. Communauté de communes de la Boucle de la Seine (Sartrouville) – 159,997
  3. Communauté de communes du Nord Martinique (Le Robert) – 108,470
  4. Communauté de communes du Sud (Le Tampon) – 102,958
  5. Communauté de communes du Centre Littoral (Cayenne) – 92,059
  6. Communauté de communes du Parisis (Herblay) – 80,196
  7. Communauté de communes du Pays Yonnais (La Roche-sur-Yon) – 79,665
  8. Communauté de communes Drancy - Le Bourget (Drancy) – 74,373
  9. Communauté de communes Cœur d’Ostrevent (Somain) – 71,814
  10. Communauté de communes de l'agglomération Creilloise (Creil) – 67,818
  11. Communauté de communes de Marne et Chantereine (Chelles) – 67,487
  12. Communauté de communes de Châtillon - Montrouge (Montrouge) – 66,355
  13. Communauté de communes des Deux Rives de la Seine (Verneuil-sur-Seine) – 62,260
  14. Communauté de communes de l'Auxerrois (Auxerre) – 62,064


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