Published on 09/29/2020 at 5:24 p.m.
Anne Hidalgo and Edouard Philippe display their ambitions for Grand Paris, a flagship project launched in 2008 by President Nicolas Sarkozy. The mayor of Paris and the former Prime Minister, who has become mayor of Le Havre again, are pleading for a Greater Paris going “to the sea”, via Rouen and Le Havre. For Edouard Philippe, “this reality is not a dogma but a fact. There is a particularity between Paris, Rouen and Le Havre”, he noted during a debate with the mayor PS of Paris during the Grand Paris Summit organized in particular by Public Senate and La Tribune. “At the beginning, it is true that some made fun of this idea” but “this idea of Grand Paris to the sea, to Le Havre via Rouen seems to me to be a vision”, added Anne Hidalgo.
“Paris is the only large world metropolis not to have access to the sea”, insisted the socialist mayor. However, “it is necessary that Paris, the capital of France, is much closer, hung up on the sea to have a maritime outlet, essential element for the qualification of the big metropolises at the international level”, she again pleaded. “The real big subject, (…) is rail freight, absolutely essential. There, we are not at all at the level”, regretted Mr. Philippe, who launched, in November 2018, when he was still a tenant at Matignon, the merger project of the three ports, Le Havre, Rouen and Paris.
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Without this, and without a real development of rail transport, “we cannot have real power in competition with other major European ports”, he added. The Greater Paris project was launched in 2008 by former President Nicolas Sarkozy, and has since come up against administrative brakes and a lack of financial resources.
“Greater Paris has no chance of succeeding unless the President of the Republic, himself, gets down to it”, warned Nicolas Sarkozy, during a speech to the actors of this metropolis. After his election, Emmanuel Macron made it a priority, but the reform project of the Parisian metropolis has continued to get bogged down.
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