The National Assembly voted on Friday, February 5, article 6 of the separatism bill which establishes a “Republican contract of engagement” for subsidized associations.
Discussions have often been tough on this subject, which touches on a fundamental freedom. The measure of the bill “Reinforcing respect for the principles of the Republic” provides that any association requesting a grant undertakes to respect “The principles of freedom, equality, fraternity, respect for the dignity of the human person “, ” public order “ as well as “Minimum requirements of life in society and the fundamental symbols of the Republic”.
Florent Boudié (LREM), general rapporteur of the text, insists on the novelty of the measure which lies, in the event of failure of an association, in the obligation made to the elected official or the public authority to withdraw a subsidy or to request reimbursement. A new legal tool demanded by associations of mayors insists Minister Marlène Schiappa in charge of citizenship.
But the majority had to fight against a number of elected officials who accuse the measure of being “Liberticide” or from “Miss the target”, radical Islam. “It looks like a certificate of allegiance” denounces the Communist Pierre Dharréville who sees behind this law the “Will to establish a controlled society”. “You will annoy associations that are not a problem,” says Xavier Breton (LR). His colleague Marc le Fur warns that the Constitutional Council “Will not let pass” This article.
The Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin argues by recalling that, according to the law of 1901, an association which files its statutes already obliges itself to respect major principles. Xavier Breton corrects him, explaining that the law “Liberal” from 1901 simply prohibited “To be anti-Republican”. Which, according to him, is not the same as “Require associations to be republican” as the majority want to do in “An authoritarian conception”.
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More prosaically, the opposition has multiplied the examples to understand the scope of the text. Socialist Boris Vallaud cites the case of associations fighting for the right to housing or environmental activists who carry out operations in a nuclear power plant. Do these organizations fall within the scope of article 6? Anne-Laure Blin (LR) suspects the government of not “Want to scare”, but to prepare a text which will target associations which oppose “Gender theory”.
The criteria for overly aggressive proselytism
The president of the commission François De Rugy recalls that the organizations of activists who practice civil disobedience or carry out illegal actions rarely appeal for public funding. For Gérald Darmanin, the jurisprudence of the Council of State has already identified the criteria that make it possible to distinguish proselytism, in itself not illegal, from “Too aggressive proselytizing “.
The Minister of the Interior illustrates his point by the case of an association of Hauts-de-Seine which reserved “Slots”, in a public swimming pool, to women “Bathing in full suits” and who propagates Islamist conferences or websites. “Not a penny of the Republic will go to the enemies of the Republic”, supports the LREM deputy Guillaume Vuilletet.
Doors open to the subjective and the arbitrary
But these demonstrations were not enough to remove the doubts of the opposition. “You open the door to the subjective” warns Alexis Corbière (LFI). Xavier Breton considers what this law, in the hands “Of a more authoritarian regime”, could have “Arbitrary”. François Pupponi (Modem) is worried that the measure will serve as a motive for elected officials “Who have a very restrictive vision of freedom” to refuse a grant or a loan from a municipal hall.
Separatism, Catholics worry about a “repressive” law
At the end of a first week of examination of a text which addresses many sensitive subjects, the majority have managed to maintain their unity. A radical conception of secularism has, however, been manifested several times by some LREM elected officials who have pleaded for extending religious neutrality to public service employees or local elected officials.
Friday, the walking deputy Jean-Baptiste Moreau tried, without success, to prohibit public funding to faith-based organizations that do not respect the religious plurality within them. “From the moment an association excludes part of the population in principle, it doesn’t bother me that it does not touch public money. “ A divergence that may still be heard next week on other fundamental freedoms, those of worship or education.