what to remember from the report of the Senate commission of inquiry, which denounces the “drift of a political coup” by Marlène Schiappa

Denouncing a “fiasco”, the senators crush the version of the former Minister Delegate for Citizenship, who had launched this device in 2021.

This is a very heavy indictment of a government project described as a “fiasco”. Two months after launching their work on the Marianne fund, the Senate commission of inquiry delivered its conclusions, Thursday, July 6, on this device supposed to fight against separatist speeches, widely criticized since the revelations of France 2 and the weekly Marianne, end of March. In their report, the senators scratch the political management of this project defended by Marlène Schiappa, then Minister Delegate for Citizenship and current Secretary of State in charge of Associative Life. “The report is clear on what we call the drift of a political coup”, denounced Senator Jean-François Husson (Les Républicains) during a press conference. Franceinfo summarizes the main elements of this damning 195-page report.

A fund launched “in an emergency”

The first criticism made of the Marianne fund concerns the very rapidity of its implementation, at the start of 2021, after the assassination of Samuel Paty. Responsible for setting up the system, the prefect Christian Gravel had pointed out to the senators a “political order, issued by the minister concerned”to launch this fund on an accelerated schedule. “The short deadlines didn’t seem to be a problem”had swept Marlène Schiappa, mid-June.

>> Marianne Fund: how Marlène Schiappa defended herself before the Senate commission of inquiry

In their report, the senators believe, on the contrary, that “the speed with which the call for projects was designed and the short time available to the project leaders contrasts with the complexity of the subject”. “However, it was essential to think about the conditions for setting up a clear framework of action for these structures and to give them time to present complete and successful projects”, oppose the elected officials. According to them, the launch phase of the Marianne fund took place “urgently”.

A selection of “sloppy and opaque” projects

In their report, the senators criticize the composition of the jury responsible for selecting the winning projects from this fund. “The absence of a qualified person from outside the administration in charge of the file and the minister’s office is open to criticismpoints the report. The conditions were not met to ensure the quality of the decisions and their neutrality.

These pitfalls, added to “the lack of determination of elements of prior objectification of applications for the call for projects”reinforce a “sense of amateurism” which emerges from the record. In summary, the file selection process was “sloppy, opaque and fragmented”load the senators.

An “active role” in favor of Mohamed Sifaoui

Did Marlène Schiappa’s entourage favor Mohamed Sifaoui’s association? The former journalist, who co-directed the Union of Physical Education and Military Preparation Societies (USEPPM), recipient of an endowment of 355,000 euros despite a record deemed very weak, had “at least three meetings between March and April 2021” with the office of the Secretary of State, recall the senators.

According to them, Mohamed Sifaoui “has been actively encouraged (…) by the cabinet” to submit their project. “Encouraging someone to submit a file does not mean that we will support them”had rejected Marlène Schiappa in her hearing. “The political authority then played an active role in processing the USEPPM request”points out Senator Jean-François Husson in his report.

A “fait du prince” against SOS Racisme

The senators denounce a procedure in which “politics has overstepped its role”. An episode particularly illustrates their observation: Marlène Schiappa was criticized for having personally intervened, at the end of May 2021, to remove a subsidy of 100,000 euros to the association SOS Racisme.

During her hearing, she denied it, simply acknowledging that she had given a “negative review”. But the senators crush the version of the Secretary of State. The endowment of 100,000 euros, decided by the selection committee, was, according to them, canceled by an e-mail from his cabinet, without justification. “That an association be substituted by a simple email from the firm is in no way satisfactory”, they lament. For Jean-François Husson, this “results from the fact of the prince”.

During her hearing, Marlène Schiappa said she had dismissed SOS Racisme because her project did not show enough activity on social networks. However, that of the association that she finally retained, for a subsidy of 20,000 euros this time, “is not based in any way on actions on social networks”write the senators. “I think I can say that, at least on this point, the minister did not tell the truth”pushes Jean-François Husson.

“Interferences” to avoid in the future

To better supervise the subsidization of associations, the senators make a dozen recommendations, including the establishment of a two-month deadline for responses to calls for national projects. It recommends setting quantitative objectives for the projects of subsidized associations, and sequencing the payments in order to be able to apply financial deductions in the event of achievements that do not comply with the specifications set by the State.

The senators also propose including “qualified outside personalities” the programming committee of the Interministerial Fund for the Prevention of Delinquency and Radicalization (FIPDR), with expertise “in terms of crime prevention and the fight against radicalization and against separatist discourse”. They also want to ban “any interference by a minister’s office in the examination of grant files”.

Finally, the opinion of the senators is purely advisory, but they seized the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) with additional information, in particular by sending it the reports of their hearings and several documents to which they had access in the part of their investigation. The PNF opened on May 4 judicial information For “negligent embezzlement of public funds”, “breach of trust”And “illegal taking of interests”.

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