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Nicolas Sarkozy

Sarkozy plan to cut costs by wiping a regions

Nicolas Sarkozy 19%

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President Nicolas Sarkozy will go up against the full force of French regional pride if he goes ahead with a new plan to cut costs and bureaucracy by wiping a few regions off the map. 

From Picardy, a northern land marked by its bloody past from the Hundred Years War to the Battle of the Somme, to eastern Alsace and Lorraine, twice reclaimed from Germany, several historic regions could lose their boundaries and their names.

Even Paris could face its most dramatic transformation since the 19th century if Sarkozy pursues the reform being proposed to him, absorbing poor suburbs where youths rioted for weeks in 2005 into a new "Greater Paris" entity.

The opposition have cried foul, alleging political motives behind the shake-up, while in the regions that face being swallowed by their neighbours passions are running high.

The plan is a political minefield, however, because Paris and the afflent department to its west, the Hauts de Seine, would find themselves joined with the much poorer Seine Saint Denis district and presumably have to pool resources.

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