Hauts-de-France (French pronunciation: [o də fʁɑ̃s] (listen); Picard: Heuts-d'Franche; lit. 'Heights of France') is the northernmost region of France, created by the territorial reform of French regions in 2014, from a merger of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy. Its prefecture is Lille. The new region came into existence on 1 January 2016, after regional elections in December 2015. The Conseil d'État approved Hauts-de-France as the name of the region on 28 September 2016, effective the following 30 September.