CCR №6(121) 2017
Issues of qualifying and delimiting political and administrative autonomies: the experience of French territories

Abstract
In this article, territorial autonomies are considered comprehensively in three dimensions: as a principle, as a form of territorial organization of the community, and as a legal regime. Territorial autonomies have four main elements: 1) a prevailing ethnic, cultural, religious, geographic, or otherwise unifying identity; 2) the establishment of unique competencies that differ from those of other entities of a similar size or type that are located within the state; 3) the guarantees of constitutional status for its development and defense; and, 4) the prevalence of financial resources for executing its duties. Examples of the constitutional and legal status of Corsica and the French overseas territories illustrate the problematic application of the dichotomous division of autonomies into political and administrative types. While by the polar examples (such as the autonomous regions of the People’s Republic of China, Gagauzia, and Greenland) the distinctions of autonomies in the matters of competence can be traced quite obviously, the use of this classification is complicated by considering Corsica or New Caledonia. The reason for this is the absence of any unified criteria of “competence sufficiency”, which is the main outcome of this analysis. Additionally, considerations of New Caledonia examine the separation of the sovereignty of France, which is a concept that materializes in the irreversible transfer of national competences to New Caledonia along with the normatively fixed possibility of New Caledonia acquiring the qualities of some kind independence by 2018, as well as independence and supremacy in internal affairs. Also, the necessity of optimizing the approach of dividing autonomies into political and administrative types is demonstrated by analyzing the legal configurations of so-called “functional autonomies” such as the Western Thrace and Mount Athos in Greece. Finally, the author proposes to distinguish between autonomies that are complete (strong) and limited (weak).

About the author
Igor Irkhin – Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Law, Associate Professor, Kuban State University, Krasnodar, Russia.

Citation
Irkhin I. (2017) Problemy kvalifikatsii i razgranicheniya politicheskikh i administrativnykh avtonomiy: opyt frantsuzskikh territoriy [Issues of qualifying and delimiting political and administrative autonomies: the experience of French territories]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, no.6, pp.45–64. (In Russian).

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