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Europa city, triangle of Gonesse, France

Farmers and environmentalists have been against this mega-project of urban development near Paris, supported by Auchan and the Chinese investor Wanda.


Farmers and environmentalists have been against this mega-project near Paris, driven by Auchan and the Chinese investor Wanda. On 6 March 2018, the administrative tribunal annulled the authorisation for the  immense "greenfield" complex EuropaCity, which is supposed to house supermarkets, hotels and cultural equipments. This would take place in the so-called "zone d'aménagement concerté" (ZAC) in the ""triangle of Gonesse", north of Paris. The EIA was considered to be insufficient. The administrative tribunal of Cergy-Pontoise considered that there not enough information for this project that would eliminate 280 hectares of agricultural land. The project would be between the airports of  Roissy et Le Bourget, the ZAC would have 80 hectares at a cost of 3.1 billion euros. Criticism has been in terms of "gigantism" and loss of agricultural soils. (1) (2) It is an emblematique example of the conflicts in France between large urbanization plans and the preservation of agricultural areas. It is another GPII, Grand Projet Inutile Imposé (2). The project has been confronted by strong local opposition and has also attracted opposition by agriculturalist interests and personalities. 

Basic Data
Name of conflict:Europa city, triangle of Gonesse, France
State or province:Île-de-France
Location of conflict:Gonesse
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Specific commodities:Tourism services
Building services, hotels.
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In March 2011, the collective for the Gonesse Triangle created itself following the EuropaCity announcement after considering it a GPI Grand Projet Inutile, translated as Great Useless Project. It counts fifteen NGOs, four of them departmental level — Les Amis de la Terre Val-d'Oise, Environnement 93, MNLE 93 et Val-d'Oise Environnement. As reported in Le Monde (2) this pharaonic complex which should be finished by 2024 would comprise an attractions park, green spaces, an aquatic park, a commercial centre, 2000 hotel rooms, an "urban farm", and even a snow park with a skiing facilities. This 3.1 billion project belongs to Immochan, a subsidiary of the distribution group Auchan, co-financed by the building giant Wanda. et cofinancé par le géant de l’immobilier chinois Wanda. The objective is to reach 31 million visitors per year. The destruction of agricultural area would be around 260 ha, equivalent to the 5th district of Paris (2). Environmental consequences will be groundwater loss and paving of the soil with cement.

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Project area:80
Level of Investment:3 800 000 000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:01/01/2011
Company names or state enterprises:Auchan from France
Wanda from China
Relevant government actors:Nicolas Hulot, ministre de la Transition Écologique
Major of Gonesse
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:
Confédération paysanne
Atelier citoyen.
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Other Environmental impacts, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Other Environmental impactsImpact on agricultural production.
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Other socio-economic impactsFarmers are going to lose a big chunk of land thatis used now for agriculture and food production. This region is providing in a huge quantity the food market of Rungis in paris. It can directly impact the food consumption of Paris.
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:In March 2018 the project is temporarily suspended by the administrative court. Likely that it will be cancelled.
Sources and Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Website of the project
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(2) Le Monde. Six questions sur EuropaCity, le projet immobilier géant au nord de Paris. La justice a annulé mardi l’arrêté créant la zone d’aménagement concerté du triangle de Gonesse, ce qui pourrait compromettre le plus grand investissement privé en France depuis la construction de Disneyland Paris.
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(1) EuropaCity: la justice annule la création de la ZAC qui devait accueillir le mégacomplexe. Par avec AFP , 06/03/2018
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(3) Projet EuropaCity. Note d'analyse transversale des études d'impact économique. et de création d'emplois
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Le projet EuropaCity rassemble contre lui, des agriculteurs aux écologistes. 1 Dec. 2017. 150 personnalités, de l'altermondialiste Naomi Klein aux agriculteurs de la FNSEA, se mobilisent contre le projet de méga-centre commercial et de loisirs aux portes de Paris, porté par Auchan et l’investisseur chinois Wanda.
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Infos du GROUPE GPII sur la marche contre Europacity à Gonesse le 21 mai. Saviez-vous que le groupe de grande distribution Auchan, allié à un investisseur chinois, veut bétonner des terres agricoles à proximité de Paris pour en faire un centre commercial géant et un parc d’attractions climatisé. Son nom ? Europacity. Ce projet qui se présente comme une initiative entièrement privée, doit en réalité bénéficier d’un financement public de plus d’un milliard d’euros pour créer une gare... destinée à desservir ce seul site. Rassemblés avec le Collectif pour le Triangle de Gonesse (CPTG), des associations, des syndicats, des citoyens, indignés par ce gâchis et ce détournement d’argent public, lancent un appel à mobilisation.
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Other documents

Source: Thomas Samson, AFP
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Other comments:"6 March 2018. EuropaCity prend acte de la décision du Tribunal Administratif de Cergy Pontoise de l’annulation de l’arrêté préfectoral de création de la ZAC du triangle de Gonesse pris par la préfecture du Val d’Oise. Cette étape administrative n’impacte pas la volonté des actionnaires de réaliser ce projet d’intérêt national créateur de plus de 10 000 emplois."
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Last update25/04/2018
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