Mr President/ Madam President.

Dear Bruno Studer, Chairman of the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Education,

Chairman of the Finance Committee, dear Eric Woerth,

Rapporteur of the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Education, dear Anne Brugnera,

Madam Rapporteur of the Finance Committee, dear Marie-Ange Magne,

Ladies and gentlemen of the Assembly,

 

Three months and a day ago, Notre-Dame de Paris caught fire.

Three months and a day later, you are ready to pass the bill for its conservation and restoration and instituting a national subscription to that effect. 

I want to thank you for your responsiveness.

It must be said that we had no choice.

We had to live up to the impulse of generosity for Our Lady.

Very quickly, we had to create a framework for donations.

To accompany and encourage them.

To guarantee the hundreds of thousands of donors, French or foreign, that their donations will go to Notre Dame.

That is what the bill is all about.

It allows us to organize the national subscription announced by the President of the Republic.

It allows us to set the rules first.

In particular, by introducing a specific tax system for donations by individuals to Notre-Dame.

Within the limit of EUR 1000, the draft law increases from 66 % to 75 % the rate of reduction of income tax in respect of donations and payments made by individuals to the public treasury, the National Monuments Centre, and the three foundations recognized for public benefit: the Fondation de France, the Fondation du Patrimoine, and the Fondation Notre-Dame.

We have been able to count on their tireless mobilization to make this national subscription.

Agreements may be entered into between the State and each of these foundations in order to organise the arrangements for the payment of the sums raised.

The bill also makes it possible to guarantee the transparency of the subscription and use of funds.

I want to tell the donors again: you will not be betrayed!

Your donations will go to Notre Dame!

A monitoring committee will be set up and it will be accountable to him for the management of the funds raised in connection with the subscription.

It will bring together the First President of the Court of Auditors and the chairmen of the committees in charge of finance and culture, the Senate and the National Assembly or their representatives – dear Bruno Studer, dear Eric Woerth.

You have been sensitive to the need for transparency.

And you strengthened it:

- On the one hand, by requesting that a Government report be submitted to Parliament on the share and amount of donations made in respect of the national subscription resulting in a tax reduction, and on the participation of local and regional authorities.

- On the other hand, by requesting the publication of a report on the collection of funds, their origin, their allocation and henceforth their consumption.

 

As regards the organization and the adaptations to be made in order to complete the restoration work, time had to be taken for reflection.

That is what the Government has done, as I committed to you.

We have clarified the legislation extensively since it was first read.

It now includes a significant portion of what was originally intended in the orders under sections 8 and 9.

We specified, first, the organization to conduct the restoration and conservation operations.

Under Article 8, an administrative public institution of the State under the supervision of the Minister responsible for Culture will be created.

Its primary mission will be to ensure project management.

It will also be able to carry out landscaping work in the immediate environment of the cathedral.

Its governance will involve:

- The City of Paris and the assigned cult, which will sit on the board of directors of the public establishment, in compliance with the law on secularism of 1905, as stated clearly in an amendment by Rapporteur Anne Brugnera.

- Heritage professionals, who will participate in the scientific council of the public institution.

The situation of traders and residents will also be taken into account, thanks to an amendment moved by Pacôme Rupin, MP for Paris, whom I want to thank

We have also specified the flexibilities to the laws in force in Article 9.

These flexibilities will be strictly proportionate to the needs of the site.

For there is no question of using the restoration of Notre-Dame to trample on French and European heritage, environmental or urban planning law.

That was never our intention.

In particular, as Minister of Culture, I will be a tireless guarantor of heritage protection.

The opinion of the National Commission for Heritage and Architecture will also be taken into account on the progress of the work and the restoration choices.

Senators, especially Jean-Pierre Leleux, were right to point that out in the legislation.

We have legislated heritage exemptions.

And we have been careful to limit the scope of the exemptions that would be necessary to make by order, concerning road, urban and environmental issues.

On these topics, establishing derogations requires a precise knowledge of the restoration project – a project that you will not have escaped that is yet to be defined.

However, it was important to specify the scope of derogations beforehand.

Thus, the provisions made by orders will obviously respect the principles set out in the 2004 Environmental Charter.

They must not prejudice the interests pursued by the Environmental Code, in particular as regards public health, safety and health and the protection of nature, the environment and the countryside.

And they will be without prejudice to France’s European and international commitments.

Here again, an amendment moved by Cathy Racon-Bouzon explained these points, which were well in the intentions of the Government.

Those, ladies and gentlemen, are the highlights of this bill.

We have substantially improved it since first reading.

You contributed to it.

And I want to thank you very much for that.

Now the hard part is ahead of us.

The cathedral will have to be consolidated and then restored.

Without further ado, I’m counting on your sense of responsibility.

To vote on this bill today.

And allow Our Lady to regain her splendour tomorrow.