Mr President, Mr Director-General, Presidents of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Directors,Ladies and Gentlemen,

In GOETHE’s Elective Affinities there is a singular theory of marriage.
One of the characters proposes, in fact, that the marriage be valid only for
five years”: “this odd and sacred number (he adds) is enough to learn to
to know, to quarrel, and, what is most charming, to reconcile. One
would forget, in the midst of this charming little business, the time set for the
termination of the contract of association, as we forget, in a good society,
the time at which we promised to withdraw. And I am sure that we will not
would realize from this forgetfulness that with a feeling of happiness, because it would have
tacitly renewed the contract».
This fun and interesting theory of a fixed-term marriage – a
“MDD” in a way…! – but indefinitely renewable
renewal, it seems to me that it can apply to all kinds of marriages, in
particular to those who unite, as is the case for us, a Ministry, like
our own, and a chamber of commerce and industry.
I must say that it is with great pleasure that I find myself today among
at the headquarters of the Assembly of French Chambers of Commerce and
of Industrie (ACFCI), hosted by its President Jean-François BERNARDIN, at
the occasion of the renewal of our marriage of reason, but also of inclination,
based on the love of Culture! Our marriage contract is called the Charter for the
Development of Cultural Philanthropy”, and was first signed on March 15
2005, 5 years ago – the duration prescribed by the GOETHE character.
We also decided to sign its renewal for 5 new years!
This new agreement responds to a shared desire to continue, on the basis of
renewed, the successful work that our networks and
employees, so that culture no longer remains, if not a “state affair”, of the
of the State, but intersects the action of the public authorities with that of the
Five years ago, it was first a question of making known the law of 1 August 2003 relating to
patronage, associations and foundations; then, to set up
networks of corporate correspondents working across France
bringing together cultural actors and leaders
business. It was also a question of definitively establishing the idea that the
cultural and heritage are an essential element of attractiveness and therefore
economic development for our regions. The crisis has shown that culture creates
wealth, businesses, jobs, tourism, development
cultural practices and industries, especially today, in the digital age.
During these five years, these objectives were largely achieved. We
have successfully deployed “links” (previously perceived as
«dangerous», but now official! ) between two worlds
long aliens to each other, we managed to integrate the dense
the fabric of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the dialogue with
cultural actors, whose horizon was almost reduced to a few
big Parisian companies.
The figures confirm a change in mentality which is
checks everywhere: if there was in France, before the law of August 1, 2003, less than
2000 companies known to sponsor, they were already, in
more than 15,000 to use tax provisions favourable to the
sponsorship, and no less numerous to support initiatives of interest
in sponsorship actions. More than a third of the generosity of
these companies benefit the cultural sector – a trend that
we are going through does not seem to have profoundly changed.
French legislation on patronage is, as you know, one of the
more comprehensive and generous in the world. Since 2003,
measures, most of which concern the
cultural field: I am thinking in particular of the presentation of the live and
the organization of contemporary art exhibitions, I also think
private historical monuments, which are an essential part of our
heritage and that contribute greatly to this attractiveness of the territories
that I mentioned earlier. I am finally thinking of the press, which can
from now on benefit from private support.
I would add that, since the law of 21 August 2007 in favour of work, employment
and purchasing power (TEPA), certain types of organizations – the
recognized foundations of public utility, educational institutions
and research – can benefit from deductible donations of
the Solidarity Tax on Wealth (ISF). Finally, thanks to the
modernization of the economy of August 4, 2008, we have a new
funding tool, the “endowment fund”. This is a new
generation of foundations, whose success is exceptional. It has created
more than 240 in the past year. This shows just how much the
donation to works of general interest represents a vast potential in
our country. However, no less than 18%, almost a fifth of these funds
are dedicated to cultural projects, which is far from negligible.
As you know, I would like to continue to improve this legislation by
proposing, in particular, to increase the donation limit in order to
more room for small business sponsorship. If the
current fiscal environment is hardly conducive to the development of
That’s an objective I keep in mind.
The cultural offer has been one of the main areas of development of the
corporate philanthropy in our country for obvious reasons. First,
culture is one of the strongest axes of our influence. Then,
companies have long understood that this is not just about
to improve their image, but to work at the very quality of their
values, their identity and their interaction with their
environment. The economic importance of culture has not escaped
business leaders, especially in the territories. And
the relationship between corporate philanthropy and social responsibility has highlighted what
culture, because it is accompanied by an open mind and an
may contribute to the fight against all forms of exclusion
and equal opportunities. Finally, this cultural patronage of the company
strongly contributes to the “culture for everyone” of which I made one of the
principles of my action.
An excellent report on this issue was recently submitted to me. Its
proposals, which mainly concern young people, residents of
rural areas will feed the action plan
that I will present in the coming months, bringing together all the actors of the sector,
including corporate sponsors.
Dialogue with the company is now part of the culture of
Ministry. It is increasingly focused on regional “patronage centres”
or interregional, which combine chambers of commerce, chambers of commerce and
notaries and regional councils of the Order of Accountants,
or other active networks in terms of corporate philanthropy. Several regions have
already set an example. I am confident that these hubs will provide the
better contacts for project promoters seeking partners,
as well as companies wishing to engage in cultural sponsorship.
But even generosity needs, if not an initiation, at least an
training, and your consular network is the second trainer of our
after National Education! It manages many networks
of higher education institutions (Colleges of
Business, Executive Management Schools, etc.).
existing in some of these institutions, which are the
of our business leaders. The Regional Directorates of
Cultural Affairs (DRAC) obviously play a role, if not central, of the
policy. This is why the idea that students
mobilize their skills in partnerships with them I think
excellent. They can train on the ground and contribute
all project engineering: from surveys of local practices to the
communication in sponsorship campaigns, passing even
sometimes through fundraising.
Finally, this Charter advocates the development of collective approaches
corporate philanthropy. In France, there have been
years, many clubs or business circles, informal or
associations, which support organizations and events
cultural events, festivals, monuments, museums, such as
companies. There are also collective foundations of companies whose
the commitment is long-term, in favor of the cultural life of a
jurisdiction or activity of an institution. Legal instruments do not
are not lacking, from the recognized foundation of public utility to the foundation
and endowment fund, to respond to situations that
and together we can think about the most appropriate tools.
A fairly new form of mobilization in France, but very lively
in other countries, such as Canada, is emerging as the
territorial foundation, known across the Atlantic as “community”. It’s
in the finest mesh of our territories, that the expertise of
companies and foundations, their diagnostic and evaluation capacity
will be able to give the full measure of their contribution:
must play a key role, in close partnership with
trade and industry, with which they already have
many elective affinities.
I therefore welcome this renewal of mutual trust
between the Ministry of Culture and Communication, and the
French chambers of commerce and industry, which helps to consolidate
the achievements of the past five years and launch, for a further five years,
many new projects in favour of this partnership culture which is
one of the levers of “culture for everyone”.
Thank you.