Implementation of the 1982 Defferre decentralisation reforms has significantly shifted the territorial distribution of power between Paris and the provinces. A priori administrative and financial control over local government has been abolished; a new tier of regional government has been created; and new policy-making powers and financial resources have been devolved to the departmental and municipal local authorities. In formal terms, the French state is now in several respects less centralised than at any time since the Revolution. However, consideration of these reforms must be placed in the wider context of the theoretical debate surrounding the nature of centre-periphery relations within the French political and administrative systems.
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