Le Mouvement Associatif: Opinion on the BILL CONFIRMING REPUBLICAN PRINCIPLES

24 February 2021 | Members' Corner

The bill provides for the introduction of a “republican commitment contract” to be imposed on associations receiving subsidies and an extension of the responsibility of volunteer leaders to the actions of the association’s members. These measures, taken in response to the deviant actions of a tiny minority of associations, will apply to all of them, and must therefore be examined in terms of what they may provoke in terms of restricting the essential militant action of the association’s fabric and discouraging the assumption of responsibility by volunteers who are nonetheless willing to commit themselves to serving the general interest. 

The measures that question and worry the associations are the following: 

  • Article 6 of the draft law stipulates that associations applying for a public subsidy must undertake to respect the principles of the Republic (equality between men and women, human dignity, fraternity, etc.) in a “republican commitment contract”. If they violate this obligation, the subsidy will have to be reimbursed; 
  • In its article 7, the association requesting approval must be able to justify compliance with the republican commitment contract within the framework of the common core of approval; 
  • Article 8 of the draft law provides for the liability of voluntary leaders for the unlawful actions of members of the association, provided that they have been informed. 

The Mouvement Associatif considers that the draft law confirming the respect of the principles of the Republic, in particular the republican contract of commitment that it proposes is, for all associations: 

  • useless because it is arbitrarily, restrictively and unilaterally added to the legal framework laid down by the law of 1901 and the partnership framework laid down by the Charter of Reciprocal Commitments; 
  • dangerous because the decree accompanying Article 6 is in fact intended to give the administrative authority the possibility of assessing whether an association complies with these principles, a role hitherto devolved solely to the judicial authority, and of sanctioning it directly, by withdrawing a subsidy and demanding reimbursement of sums received, if it considers that these principles are not respected. This power granted to the administrative authority appears exorbitant on subjects as complex and debatable as the assessment of “abusive” proselytism, or of the capacity of an association to protect the “moral integrity” of its members. 

The Senate must examine the bill from 17 March to 8 April 2021. The Mouvement Associatif calls on associations to remain strongly mobilised against the adoption of the republican commitment contract. 

Originally published by Le Mouvement Associatif, available here.