The Community of Commons is a public administrative institution with its own taxation. It has a legal personality and financial autonomy. It is administered by its own authorities and has its own staff who manage its services. It makes administrative decisions and carries out public works. Unlike a municipality, it has statutes that set its framework for action. Its statutes include:
Thus, the municipality retains a general vocation on its territory while the community, obeying the “speciality principle”, cannot act outside the powers assigned to it by its member municipalities. On the other hand, under this principle, the community is the only one that can act in the areas related to the competences transferred to it: it is the principle of exclusivity or total divestiture.
The skills system is binary: all or nothing. Therefore, the statutes must be precise in order to avoid any ambiguity and any subsequent legal risks. Their modification is frequent because they have to constantly adapt to the needs of the territory, while taking into account the principles of specialty and exclusivity.
The exercise of certain skills by self-taxED EPCIs is conditional on the recognition and definition of their community interest. Community interest is akin to the dividing line, within a jurisdiction, between the areas of action transferred to the community and those that remain within the jurisdiction of the municipalities. For example, in the area of roads, community interest has been limited to only paved roads and not to paved roads.
The Community of Commons is only the result of what the communes want to do together: the Community of Commons does not have the power to appropriate the powers that belong to the communes. In order for a transfer of powers to be initiated, this requires the agreement of the municipalities under the conditions of qualified majority (see question relating to the creation of the community of communes).
For the exercise of its competences, and in particular the competences of roads and schools, the municipalities and the Community of Commons approved a charter in 2012 (see link below). This charter defines the principles that led to these transfers and specifies the methods of exercising these two competences, including the distribution of roles between municipalities and the community of communes. The idea being that the community of communes remains a tool at the service of the territory and its inhabitants, nothing more.