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Can Laurent Wauquiez really “cut all subsidies” in Grenoble?

New showdown in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. While the mayor of Grenoble, Eric Piolle, wishes to authorize the wearing of the burkini in municipal swimming pools, the regional president, Laurent Wauquiez, opposes it. On his Twitter account, the latter said: “Mr. Piolle plans to authorize the burkini in municipal swimming pools. I warn the mayor: in this case, the Region will cut all subsidies to the city of Grenoble. »

The majority of the mayor of Grenoble will present these new rules of procedure for its swimming pools to the municipal council on May 16. The text aims to promote equal access to public service. Eric Piolle reacted to 20 minutes : “You can come with a covering swimsuit to protect yourself from the sun. You can come with a covering jersey for other reasons. It is equal access to public service. He also noted that if the text is adopted, it would come into force on June 1, for the opening of the pools for the summer.

Could the regional president really “cut all subsidies” to Grenoble if the new regulations were to be adopted? 20 minutes make the point.

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“A grant is not a right”, insists Christophe Mondou, lecturer in local authority law and public law at the University of Lille. For a subsidy to be allocated, whether to an association or a town hall, the two parties must sign an agreement of objectives and means. The rules must be respected. “In the event that there is a non-compliance with the regulations, or an illegal practice, then the contract could be broken”, he continues.

But if this is the case, the subsidy removed concerns a very specific point. “It is not possible to cut them all, as Laurent Wauquiez says. We do not eliminate the subsidies allocated to water, canteens, schools… for a dispute over swimming pools”, explains Pierrick Gardien, public law lawyer at the Lyon Bar.

An attack on secularism in public services?

Eric Piolle would not go into illegality by authorizing the burkini in particular in his swimming pools. Nothing that can therefore allow the abolition of the only subsidy allocated to municipal swimming pools. “Unless the president of the region considers that this violates the charter of secularism and therefore does not respect the agreement signed between the two parties”, judges the lawyer.

This charter was adopted by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region on March 17th. When it came into force, Laurent Wauquiez explained: “Not a single penny of public money should be paid to those who do not respect the rules! “On the subject of slots dedicated to women in swimming pools and the wearing of the burkini, he announced that this “has no place in public service equipment”.

Pierrick Gardien explains that today no decision says that wearing the burkini is contrary to secularism. “When there is no decision by the Council of State, everyone can take a different position. He has the right to rely on the charter to justify his decision,” he adds. “Is this going to hold? We cannot be sure. »

“Everything is possible but not necessarily legal”, underlines Régis Constant, lawyer in general public law and community and intermunicipal law, at the Marseille bar. “The town hall of Grenoble can seize the administrative court if it considers that the reasons on which Laurent Wauquiez relies are not sufficient. It would then be up to the judge to decide.

What about future grant applications?

There may also be the case of non-renewal of the grant. Since each file is examined according to the proposed project, a refusal must be explained. “The region can change its orientation, its objectives. For example, it can choose to turn to competitive sport and therefore subsidize swimming clubs,” explains Christophe Mondou. Note that in this case, all communities must be treated in the same way. “The region cannot treat Lyon and Grenoble differently”, he assures.

But following such a public declaration, Laurent Wauquiez exposes himself to numerous disputes. “He could have discreetly refused the next grants. But now, as soon as there is a refusal, there could be an appeal. With a question for the communities: “Did you really consider my request or is it a sanction for a decision that you did not like?”, Says Régis Constant. Be that as it may, for legal specialists, it is nothing more than a “political communication stunt”, perhaps to “rally voters from the extremes”.

Laurent Wauquiez is no novice in this field

Eric Piolle lamented with 20 minutes Emmanuel Macron’s lack of response to his request to study the swimming pool regulations. “It would be preferable for the subject to be tackled at the national level rather than for each municipality to do it on its own. » And according to him « it is not a question of secularism. In swimming pools, as in the street, there is no question of secularism. We have the same legal and legal status”.

Laurent Wauquiez is accustomed to this kind of threat, which he sometimes carries out. In December 2021, he removed the aid provided to the Grenoble Institute of Political Studies by the region. One difference, however, was that these were not subsidies but above all scholarships and aid for social life and student projects.

This decision followed the dismissal of teacher Klaus Kinzler. The latter had questioned the term “Islamophobia” and compared the school to “a re-education camp” in which the teachers would denounce the “universalist, democratic and secular” system of our society. The regional president had then denounced an “ideological and communitarian drift”.

Source: 20minutes

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