The Tories have issued a St George’s Day rallying cry against plans by Brussels to “wipe England off the map”…
The change splits England into three and lumps those parts together with chunks of other countries to create “transnational regions”.
It is claimed these zones – which have been allocated their own budgets – are intended to boost trade between EU nations.
But the Tories yesterday accused the Government of trying “to create a European superstate via the back door”.
Under the programme, known as INTER-REG, counties along England’s south coast form the “Manche Region” along with northern France.
The “Atlantic Region” takes in western England, along with Ireland, Wales and parts of Portugal, Spain, France and Scotland.
Meanwhile eastern England is part of the “North Sea Region”, which covers areas of Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands.
Divide and rule: How the South-East has been paired up with regions across the Channel.
The UK Government is fully behind the project, even though the words “England” and “Britain” are left off official maps of each area and the Manche Region renames the English Channel “The Channel Sea”.
Each region, which will be given taxpayers’ money to promote trade links, cultural ties, transport policies and tourism, is to be run by a “managing authority” of unelected officials overseen by a director.
The regions have legal status and Manche has a budget of £261million between 2007 and 2013, Atlantic £127million and North Sea £219million.
Eric Pickles, the Conservatives’ communities spokesman, said: “Now the Labour Government has been caught red-handed conspiring with European bureaucrats to create a European superstate via the back door.
“Gordon Brown literally wants to wipe England off the map.”
But a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government insisted: “It has nothing to do with altering names on maps.
“It is about support for business, helping boost employment and turning around deprived areas… helping firms in Kent do business with people in Northern France or promoting joint tourism initiatives between different countries.”