The sale of French heritage censured by the Conseil Constitutionnel

local/cache-vignettes/L290xH215/Conseil_constitutionnel-b6e7a-04569.jpg6/1/10– Heritage–France –The Conseil Constitutionnel has just censured article 116 (formerly article 52) of the 2010 Finance law which included a provision ceding the rights of historical monuments belonging to the government to local entities making the request (see news item of 28/11/09). The measure passed surreptitiously and the Court considers, correctly so, that this was a legislative add-on, that is, an article or amendment in no way related to the bill in which it was included [1]. Just recently, Frederic Mitterand responded in Le Nouvel Observateur to an article by Jerome Garcin in which he defended this sell-off of historical monuments when in fact the only honourable position for a Culture minister would have been to state his firm opposition.

Alas, this is a symbolic move only with no actual consequences. We fear this is a Pyrrhic victory as either the government or the parliament will no doubt present the amendment in a new law, as happened in the case of the “Avis conforme” [or approval] for the Architectes des Batiments de France in the ZPPPAUP [2]. Supporters of French heritage take heed.

Didier Rykner, mercredi 6 janvier 2010


[1] This is not the first instance in which the current administration is censured by the Constitutional Court, proving just how amateurish it is. Other articles in the Finance law were also adjusted. The decision dates from 29 December 2009 and states “Given that [this disposition does not concern] resources, charges, treasury, loans, debt, nor the government’s guarantee or accounting ; that [it does not] concern generalized taxes on a legal entity other than the State . that [it does not] aim to divide funds among local municipalities or to approve financial agreements ; that [it is not relative] to the regime of financial responsibility of public service officials or to Parliamentary information and control on public financial management ; thus, [it is foreign] to the domain of the Finance law as specified by the organic law of 1st August 2001 ; following therewith that [article] 116 of the referred law [was adopted] according to a procedure which runs contrary to the Constitution”.

[2] This measure had also been censured because it was an add-on (see news item, in French, of 15/2/09), before it was voted on again. At the moment, no approvals [avis conforme] are required in a ZPPAUP ; a new law is to be voted on, with little hope that it will retract this measure (seearticle, in French, of 21/11/09).

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