Prefectures of France
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The history of the Prefectures
The Prefectures are twice Centenarian
- The Prefecoral intitution is twice centenarian and has survived wars and changes of systems ( Empire, Monarchie, Republic). During the middle ages this function was allotted to to the senechals and governors of the King.
- Napoleon III reinforced the role of the Prefects and the third Republic dismissed the men in place but maintained the institution which contributed to the roots of communal and departmental insitutions.
- During the last war Jean Moulin, the Prefect of Eure-et-Loir, defied the enemy and was tortured in Chartres, after as Chief of the shadow army of General de Gaulle, arrested once more without giving away a single secret, he who knew them all submitted himself to the supreme sacrifice : He was the face of France (Andr Malraux ).
- Under the IVth Republic profound changes were felt by the Prefects and their missions and the frame of the territorial administrations in which they work changed.
- A prefecture covers exactly the same territory as the department where the Prefect is named. There are 96 Prefectures in metropolitan France and 4 in the overseas territories, at the head of which are named the departmental Prefects.
- A Prefect in France is the only high positionned Civil Servant whos role is defined by the constitution. Today, the Prefects constitute the administrative armour of a unified State which is a democracy, deconcentrated and decentralized.
- Each department is subdevised into several sub-Prefectures, each managed by a sub-Prefect. There are 326 sub-Prefectures of districts in metroplitan France and 13 in the French territories.
- The administrative sevices of a Prefecture are organized in exactly the same way in each department. This administration, where the financing and the goals of which are different from those of the general councils of the departments, whose headquarters are situated in one or more buildings often named : htel de prefecture. This is where the prefect lives by obligation when he is in function.
The missions of the prefectures of the departments include :
- Delivering of Identity cards, passports, vehicle registration, driving licences.
- The management of resident permits for foreigners.
- Control of the legality on the actions of local collectivities.
- The interministerial coordination of deconcentrated services of the State.
- The management of European funds.
- Protection and Civil security.
- The organization of Elections.
General Council in Conseil-General.com 1999/2013