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Decision no. 2012-654 DC of 9 AUGUST 2012

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Supplementary Law on finances for 2012

In the conditions provided for by Article 61-2 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Council was seized of an application relating to the Supplementary Law on finances for 2012 on 1 August 2012 by Mr Christian JACOB, Mr Damien ABAD, Mr Bernard ACCOYER, Mr Yves ALBARELLO, Mr Benoist APPARU, Mr Julien AUBERT, Mr Olivier AUDIBERT-TROIN, Mr Patrick BALKANY, Mr Jean-Pierre BARBIER, Mr François BAROIN, Mr Jacques-Alain BÉNISTI, Mr Xavier BERTRAND, Mr Étienne BLANC, Mr Philippe BRIAND, Mr Dominique BUSSEREAU, Mr Olivier CARRÉ, Mr Gilles CARREZ, Mr Yves CENSI, Mr Jérôme CHARTIER, Mr Luc CHATEL, Mr Guillaume CHEVROLLIER, Mr Alain CHRÉTIEN, Mr Dino CINIERI, Mr Jean-François COPÉ, Mr François CORNUT-GENTILLE, Ms Marie-Christine DALLOZ, Mr Gérald DARMANIN, Mr Marc-Philippe DAUBRESSE, Mr Bernard DEFLESSELLES, Mr Rémi DELATTE, Mr Nicolas DHUICQ, Mr Jean-Pierre DOOR, Mr David DOUILLET, Ms Marianne DUBOIS, Ms Virginie DUBY-MULLER, Mr Christian ESTROSI, Mr Daniel FASQUELLE, Mr François FILLON, Ms Marie-Louise FORT, Mr Yves FOULON, Mr Claude de GANAY, Mr Hervé GAYMARD, Ms Annie GENEVARD, Mr Guy GEOFFROY, Mr Daniel GIBBES, Mr Franck GILARD, Mr Georges GINESTA, Mr Jean-Pierre GIRAN, Mr Claude GOASGUEN, Mr Philippe GOSSELIN, Ms Anne GROMMERCH, Mr Henri GUAINO, Ms Françoise GUÉGOT, Mr Jean-Claude GUIBAL, Mr Jean-Jacques GUILLET, Mr Christophe GUILLOTEAU, Mr Antoine HERTH, Mr Patrick HETZEL, Mr Christian KERT, Ms Nathalie KOSCIUSKO-MORIZET, Mr Jacques KOSSOWSKI, Mr Charles de LA VERPILLIÈRE, Mr Marc LAFFINEUR, Mr Jacques LAMBLIN, Mr Jean-François LAMOUR, Mr Guillaume LARRIVÉ, Mr Thierry LAZARO, Ms Isabelle LE CALLENNEC, Mr Marc LE FUR, Mr Bruno LE MAIRE, Mr Pierre LELLOUCHE, Mr Jean LEONETTI, Ms Véronique LOUWAGIE, Mr Laurent MARCANGELI, Mr Hervé MARITON, Mr Olivier MARLEIX, Mr Alain MARSAUD, Mr Philippe MEUNIER, Mr Jean-Claude MIGNON, Mr Pierre MOREL-A-L'HUISSIER, Mr Jean-Luc MOUDENC, Mr Patrick OLLIER, Ms Valérie PÉCRESSE, Mr Bernard PERRUT, Mr Édouard PHILIPPE, Mr Jean-Frédéric POISSON, Ms Josette PONS, Mr Frédéric REISS, Mr Bernard REYNÈS, Mr Franck RIESTER, Mr Arnaud ROBINET, Mr Camille de ROCCA SERRA, Ms Sophie ROHFRITSCH, Mr Martial SADDIER, Mr Paul SALEN, Mr François SCELLIER, Ms Claudine SCHMID, Mr André SCHNEIDER, Mr Jean-Marie SERMIER, Mr Fernand SIRÉ, Mr Thierry SOLÈRE, Mr Michel SORDI, Mr Éric STRAUMANN, Mr Lionel TARDY, Mr Jean-Charles TAUGOURDEAU, Mr Guy TEISSIER, Mr Michel TERROT, Mr Jean-Marie TETART, Ms Catherine VAUTRIN, Mr Jean-Pierre VIGIER, Mr Philippe VITEL, Mr Michel VOISIN, Mr Jean-Luc WARSMANN, Mr Éric WOERTH, Ms Marie-Jo ZIMMERMANN, Mr François-Xavier VILLAIN, Mr Gilles BOURDOULEIX, Mr Philippe VIGIER, Mr Jean-Christophe FROMANTIN, Mr Rudy SALLES, Mr Charles de COURSON, Mr André SANTINI, Mr Jean-Louis BORLOO, Mr François SAUVADET, Mr Francis HILLMEYER, Mr Yves JÉGO and Mr Thierry BENOIT, Members of Parliament; and on the same day by Mr Jean-Claude GAUDIN, Mr Gérard BAILLY, Mr Philippe BAS, Mr René BEAUMONT, Mr Christophe BÉCHU, Mr Claude BELOT, Mr Joël BILLARD, Mr Jean BIZET, Mr Pierre BORDIER, Mr Joël BOURDIN, Ms Marie-Thérèse BRUGUIÈRE, Mr François-Noël BUFFET, Mr François CALVET, Mr Christian CAMBON, Mr Jean-Noël CARDOUX, Mr Jean-Claude CARLE, Ms Caroline CAYEUX, Mr Gérard CÉSAR, Mr Pierre CHARON, Mr Alain CHATILLON, Mr Jean-Pierre CHAUVEAU, Mr Christian COINTAT, Mr Gérard CORNU, Mr Raymond COUDERC, Mr Jean-Patrick COURTOIS, Mr Philippe DALLIER, Mr Serge DASSAULT, Ms Isabelle DEBRÉ, Mr Robert del PICCHIA, Mr Francis DELATTRE, Mr Gérard DÉRIOT, Ms Catherine DEROCHE, Ms Marie-Hélène DES ESGAULX, Mr Éric DOLIGÉ, Mr Philippe DOMINATI, Mr Michel DOUBLET, Mr Alain DUFAUT, Mr André DULAIT, Mr Ambroise DUPONT, Mr Louis DUVERNOIS, Mr Jean-Paul EMORINE, Ms Jacqueline FARREYROL, Mr André FERRAND, Mr Louis-Constant FLEMING, Mr Michel FONTAINE, Mr Alain FOUCHÉ, Mr Bernard FOURNIER, Mr Jean-Paul FOURNIER, Mr Christophe-André FRASSA, Mr Yann GAILLARD, Mr René GARREC, Ms Joëlle GARRIAUD-MAYLAM, Mr Patrice GÉLARD, Mr Bruno GILLES, Ms Colette GIUDICELLI, Mr Alain GOURNAC, Mr Francis GRIGNON, Mr François GROSDIDIER, Mr Charles GUENÉ, Mr Pierre HÉRISSON, Mr Michel HOUEL, Mr Jean-François HUMBERT, Mr Benoît HURÉ, Mr Jean-Jacques HYEST, Ms Sophie JOISSAINS, Ms Chantal JOUANNO, Ms Christiane KAMMERMANN, Mr Roger KAROUTCHI, Ms Fabienne KELLER, Ms Élisabeth LAMURE, Mr Gérard LARCHER, Mr Daniel LAURENT, Mr Jean-René LECERF, Mr Jacques LEGENDRE, Mr Dominique de LEGGE, Mr Jean-Pierre LELEUX, Mr Jean-Claude LENOIR, Mr Philippe LEROY, Mr Roland du LUART, Mr Michel MAGRAS, Mr Philippe MARINI, Mr Jean-François MAYET, Ms Colette MÉLOT, Mr Albéric de MONTGOLFIER, Mr Philippe NACHBAR, Mr Louis NÈGRE, Mr Philippe PAUL, Mr Jackie PIERRE, Mr François PILLET, Mr Xavier PINTAT, Mr Rémy POINTEREAU, Mr Christian PONCELET, Mr Ladislas PONIATOWSKI, Mr Hugues PORTELLI, Ms Sophie PRIMAS, Ms Catherine PROCACCIA, Mr Jean-Pierre RAFFARIN, Mr Henri de RAINCOURT, Mr André REICHARDT, Mr Bruno RETAILLEAU, Mr Charles REVET, Mr Bernard SAUGEY, Mr René-Paul SAVARY, Mr Michel SAVIN, Mr Bruno SIDO, Ms Esther SITTLER, Mr André TRILLARD, Ms Catherine TROENDLE, Mr François TRUCY, Mr Hilarion VENDEGOU, Mr René VESTRI and Mr Jean-Pierre VIAL, Senators.

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL,

Having regard to the Constitution;

Having regard to Ordinance no. 58-1067 of 7 November 1958 as amended, concerning the basic law on the Constitutional Council;

Having regard to Basic Law no. 2001-692 of 1 August 2001, as amended, regarding the law on finance;

Having regard to the General Tax Code;

Having regard to the Code of Social Action and Families;

Having regard to the Customs Code;

Having regard to the Energy Code;

Having regard to the Social Security Code;

Having regard Law no. 84-53 of 26 January 1984 enacting statutory provisions on the local public service;

Having regard to Law no. 86-1067 of 30 September 1986 on freedom of communication;

Having regard to Law no. 88-1149 of 23 December 1988 on finances, amended for 1989;

Having regard to Law no. 90-568 of 2 July 1990 on the organisation of the public postal service and France Télécom;

Having regard to Ordinance no. 96-50 of 24 January 1996 on the repayment of health service debt;

Having regard to Law no. 2002-1050 of 6 August 2002 on finances, amended for 2002;

Having regard to Law no. 2007-1199 of 10 August 2007 on the freedoms and responsibilities of universities;

Having regard to Law no. 2007-1223 of 21 August 2007 to promote work, employment and purchasing power;

Having regard to Law no. 2008-1425 of 27 December 2008 on finances, amended for 2009;

Having regard to Law no. 2010-1657 of 29 December 2010 on finances, amended for 2011;

Having regard to Law no. 2011-900 of 29 July 2011 on finances, amended for 2011;

Having regard to Law no. 2011-1978 of 28 December 2011 on finances, amended for 2011;

Having regard to the final Decision C(2011) 9403 of the European Commission of 20 December 2011;

Having regard to the Government's observations in response to the applications, registered on 3 August 2012;

Having heard the Rapporteur;

1. Considering that the applicant Members of Parliament and Senators have referred to the Constitutional Council the Supplementary Law on finances for 2012; that they argue that Articles 31 and 33 have no place in such a law; that moreover, the applicant Senators raise the same challenge against Articles 41, 44 and 45; that the applicant Members of Parliament and Senators contest on substantive grounds the constitutionality of Articles 3, 4, 20, 29 and 42 thereof and argue further that Article 29 has no place in a law on finances; that the applicant Members of Parliament and Senators contest finally the constitutionality of Articles 12, 28, 32 and 41 whilst the applicant Senators contest the constitutionality of Article 10;

THE PROCEDURE FOR ADOPTING THE LAW AS A WHOLE:

2. Considering that the last subparagraph of Article 48 of the Constitution provides: "During at least one sitting per week, including during the extraordinary sittings provided for in article 29, priority shall be given to questions from Members of Parliament and to answers from the Government";

3. Considering that any bill or draft law adopted during a week for which the order of the day was determined in breach of the last subparagraph of Article 48 of the Constitution would be adopted in accordance with an unconstitutional procedure;

4. Considering that Parliament was convened in extraordinary session starting from Tuesday 3 July 2012; that no public sitting was reserved as a priority matter for questions from Members of Parliament and the Government's responses in the order of the day for either of the houses during the first week of the extraordinary session; that nonetheless, the draft adjustment bill on finances for 2012 tabled in the National Assembly on 4 July 2012 was not adopted by the National Assembly during the first week of the extraordinary session; that the examination procedure for the draft bill was therefore not unconstitutional;

– THE PROCEDURE FOR ADOPTING ARTICLES 31, 33, 44 AND 45:

5. Considering that Article 31, which amended Articles L. 137-13 and L. 137-14 of the Social Security Code, increased the employer's contribution rate as well as the employee's contributions on the allocation of options to subscribe to or purchase shares and on the allocation of shares free of charge in respect of options granted and allocations made starting from 11 July 2012;

6. Considering that Article 33, which amended Articles L. 137-16, L. 135-3, L. 135-3-1, L. 241-2 and L. 241-3 of the Social Security Code, increased the levy rate referred to under Article L. 137-15 of the Code for salaries or earnings paid starting from 1 August 2012 and also amended the distribution of the revenue generated from this levy;

7. Considering that Article 44 defers until 1 January 2013 the relevant date laid down by Article 49 of the aforementioned Law of 10 August 2007 after which the universities will be required to apply the provisions of chapter I of title III of the aforementioned Law of 10 August 2007;

8. Considering that Article 45, which concerns Article 12-2 of the aforementioned Law of 26 January 1984, amended the mandatory contribution rate paid to the National Centre for the local public service for the municipalities, the departments, the regions, their public establishments and the departmental homes for the disabled for financial year 2013;

9. Considering that, according to the applicant Members of Parliament and Senators, Articles 31 and 33 of the law referred have no place in a supplementary law on finances; that they had been adopted according to a procedure which was unconstitutional; that the applicant Senators also challenge Articles 44 and 45 of the law referred on this basis;

10. Considering in the first place that according to the combined provisions of Articles 34 and 35 of the aforementioned basic law of 1 August 2001, a supplementary law on finances may contain "provisions on taxable income, the tax rate and the procedure for recovering taxation of any nature which do not affect the budgetary equilibrium";

11. Considering that the employee and employer contributions on the allocation of options to subscribe to or purchase shares and on the allocation of shares free of charge and the contribution referred to under Article L. 137-15 of the Social Security Code are intended to ensure coverage for the costs of mandatory social security regimes and of the bodies which contribute to the financing of these regimes and do not amount to contributions establishing rights to the services and benefits provided by these regimes; that the mandatory contribution to be made to the National Centre of the local public service, which is intended to ensure coverage for costs of any nature borne by that establishment, does not constitute either remuneration for services provided or a subsidy; that accordingly, the provisions of Articles 31, 33 and 45 concern taxable income or the rate of taxation which do not affect the budgetary equilibrium of the State; that they may therefore be included within the Supplementary Law on finances;

12. Considering secondly that according to the combined provisions of Articles 34 and 35 of the aforementioned basic law of 1 August 2001, a supplementary law on finances may include "provisions with a direct affect on budgetary costs for the year";

13. Considering that the provisions the application of which is deferred by Article 44 concern the responsibilities of the universities over budgets and the management of human resources; that they have the object in particular of changing the allocation of State funding intended for universities; that on this basis, they relate directly to the budgetary costs for the year; that accordingly, Article 44 of the law referred may be included in a supplementary law on finances;

14. Considering that according to the above, Articles 31, 33, 44 and 45 were not adopted according to an unconstitutional procedure;

– ARTICLE 3:

15. Considering that Article 3 reforms the social security and tax relief for overtime for full-time and part-time work established by the aforementioned Law of 21 August 2007; that it abolishes the tax exemptions on income earned as overtime for full-time and part-time work; that it also abolishes the reductions in employee social security contributions and limits the deductions of employer social security contributions to companies with less than twenty employees; that the abolition of tax exemptions on income applies to remuneration earned as overtime by full-time and part-time workers starting from 1 August 2012; that the abolition of employee and employer social security contributions will apply to remuneration earned as overtime by full-time and part-time workers starting from 1 September 2012; that, "when the calculation period for working time is not the same as the calendar month", the earlier exemption regime from employee social security contributions shall continue to apply to the remuneration of overtime by full-time and part-time workers paid until the end of the current calculation period for working time, or 31 December 2012 if earlier;

16. Considering that, according to the applicant Members of Parliament, by treating employees differently depending upon whether or not their working time is accounted for on the basis of a calendar month, this Article breaches the principle of equality and is moreover irrational; that they also argue that the abolition of the social security and tax relief associated with overtime for full-time and part-time work breaches the freedom of enterprise by subjecting companies to excessive constraints having regard to the goal pursued of maintaining employment; that, according to the applicant Senators, this Article breaches the principle of equality between employees depending upon whether they worked overtime before or after 1 August 2012 or before or after 1 September 2012; that they also argue that the abolition of the tax relief granted under the aforementioned Law of 21 August 2007 is retroactive in nature insofar as it is intended to apply to remuneration earned as overtime for full-time and part-time work performed starting from 1 August 2012, whereas the Supplementary Law on finances will be promulgated at a later date;

17. Considering that Parliament is at any time at liberty, when ruling on the matters within its competence, to amend earlier legislation or to repeal it and replace it with new legislation as the case may be; that when doing so, it cannot however deprive constitutional requirements of legal guarantees; that in particular, it would violate the guarantee of rights proclaimed by Article 16 of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen if it were to impinge upon acquired rights in a manner not justified by a sufficient reason of general interest;

18. Considering that freedom of enterprise stems from Article 4 of the 1789 Declaration; that however the legislator is free to subject this freedom to limitations associated with constitutional requirements or justified by general interest, provided that this does not result in harm that is disproportionate in relation to the pursued goal;

19. Considering that Article 6 of the 1789 Declaration provides: “Law [···] must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes”; that the principle of equality does not prevent the legislator from settling different situations in different ways, or from derogating from equality for the general interest , provided that in both cases the difference in treatment that results is either in direct relationship with the subject of the law established thereby; that it does not follow that the principle of equality makes it obligatory to give different treatment to people in different situations;

20. Considering that it is for Parliament, which is vested with jurisdiction pursuant to Article 34 of the Constitution to determine the fundamental principles of employment law, to establish rules capable of ensuring, in accordance with the provisions of the Preamble to the 1946 Constitution, the right of each person to obtain employment whilst enabling as many people as possible to exercise this right;

21. Considering in the first place that in adopting the contested provisions abolishing the incentive to use overtime for full-time and part-time work, Parliament intended to promote employment; that to this effect, it was free to amend the rules governing tax and social security relief applicable to such overtime; that the contested provisions, which do not cause any breach to the freedom of enterprise, also do not violate the right of each individual to secure employment;

22. Considering secondly, on the one hand, that the difference in treatment between employees regarding social security contributions provided for under Article 3 of the law referred, according to which "the calculation period" for their working hours shall or shall not correspond "to the calendar month", is justified by the difference between the circumstances of these employees;

23. Considering on the other hand that the difference in treatment resulting from the changeover between two legal regimes over time is not in itself contrary to the principle of equality; that the differences in treatment between employees depending upon whether they performed their overtime for full-time or part-time work before or after 1 August 2012, with regard to the abolition of tax relief, or before or after 1 September 2012, with regard to the abolition of reductions in social security contributions, is a result of the changeover between two legal regimes over time; that accordingly, they do not violate the principle of equality;

24. Considering finally that Article 3, which is not irrational, does not affect any legally acquired rights; that it is not contrary to Article 16 of the 1789 Declaration;

25. Considering that according to the above, Article 3 of the law referred does not breach any rule or principle of constitutional standing; that it must be ruled constitutional;

– ARTICLE 4:

26. Considering that Article 4 establishes an exceptional tax on wealth for the year 2012; that this levy is due from individuals who are subject to the solidarity tax on wealth for the year 2012; that the amount liable for taxation is determined according to the same rules as those applicable to the solidarity tax; that its rates are progressive; that the amount due for the solidarity tax on wealth in 2012 prior to any allocations of the tax reductions shall be deducted from the amount due as this exceptional levy;

27. Considering that, according to the applicants, in raising the rate of taxation on wealth, these provisions establish a confiscatory tax; that in failing to make provision for a mechanism which makes it possible to limit the amount due as tax in line with the taxpayer's income, these provisions clearly breach the principle of equality in the payment of public dues; that, in breach of the principle of equality in taxation, they entail threshold effects which result in some owners of wealth paying greater amounts as the exceptional levy than other owners of wealth with a greater value; that they would have the effect of retroactively modifying the rate of the solidarity tax on wealth for the year 2012 and would accordingly breach the guarantee of rights stipulated in Article 16 of the 1789 Declaration;

28. Considering that Article 6 of the 1789 Declaration provides: "The law··· must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes"; that the principle of equality does neither prevent the legislator from settling different situations in different ways, nor does it derogate from equality in the general interest, provided that in both cases the resulting difference in treatment is directly related to the subject matter of the law providing for the different treatment;

29. Considering that Article 13 of the 1789 Declaration provides: “A common contribution is essential for the maintenance of the public forces and for the cost of administration. This should be equitably distributed among all citizens in proportion to their means”; that, pursuant to Article 34 of the Constitution, it is for Parliament to determine, in accordance with constitutional principles and taking account of the characteristics of each tax, the rules according to which the capacity to pay tax must be assessed; that in particular, in order to ensure that the principle of equality is respected, it must base its assessment on objective and rational criteria intended to further the goals it proposes; that this assessment may not however entail any clear breach of the principle of equality in the payment of public dues;

30. Considering that Parliament is at any time at liberty, when ruling on the matters within its competence, to amend earlier legislation or to repeal it and replace it with new legislation as the case may be; that when doing so, it cannot however deprive constitutional requirements of legal guarantees; that in particular, it would violate the guarantee of rights proclaimed by Article 16 of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen if it were to impinge upon acquired rights in a manner not justified by a sufficient reason of general interest;

31. Considering in the first place that in establishing the exceptional levy on wealth, Parliament intended to put in place a differentiated tax regime compared to the solidarity tax on wealth due for the year 2012; that it determined the amount liable to taxation according to the rules applicable to the latter tax; that it provided for tax brackets and rates which, taking account both of the exceptional levy and the solidarity tax on wealth, could ensure the progressive nature of these taxes paid in 2012 in relation to the possession of certain assets and the holding of certain rights;

32. Considering secondly that Parliament increased the number of tax brackets and increased the rate of taxation applicable to the holding of wealth in 2012 in order to increase taxation on the holders of this wealth and to extract new tax revenue; that it set the level of this tax whilst maintaining the threshold above which it would fall due at EUR 1.3 million and leaving numerous assets and rights outwith the scope of this tax; that it set the higher marginal rate for wealth in excess of EUR 16.79 million at 1.8 %; that the Constitutional Council does not have a general power of discretion of the same nature as that of Parliament; that it cannot cannot whether the goals which Parliament set itself could have been achieved in another manner, unless the procedures stipulated by law are manifestly inappropriate for the objective pursued; that in increasing the levy applicable to certain taxpayers whilst reinforcing the progressive nature of tax paid in 2012 in relation to the possession of certain assets and the holding of certain rights, Parliament based its assessment on objective and rational criteria having regard to the goals pursued; that the exceptional levy on wealth, combined with the solidarity tax on wealth for 2012, does not impose an excessive burden on a category of taxpayers having regard to the capacity to pay tax which the possession of certain assets and the holding of certain rights confers;

33. Considering thirdly that in order to avoid causing a clear breach to the principle of equality in the payment of public dues, after creating the aforementioned solidarity tax on wealth by the aforementioned Law of 23 December 1988, Parliament included within the regime governing the tax certain rules establishing limits which do not involve a tax by tax calculation and limit the amount of the solidarity tax on wealth and the taxes due on income and capital gains from the previous year to a total fraction of net income from the previous year; that whilst under the aforementioned Law of 29 July 2011 Parliament was able to repeal with effect from 2012 Article 885 V a of the General Tax Code on the limit for the solidarity tax on wealth without violating the Constitution, this was due to the parallel significant fall in the rates of this tax; that Parliament cannot determine the band of the solidarity tax on wealth such as that in force prior to the year 2012 without accompanying it with a limit rule or generating equivalent effects intended to avoid a clear breach of the principle of equality in the payment of public dues;

34. Considering however that the contested Supplementary Law on finances implements new tax provisions over the course of the year including, on a non-renewable basis, the establishment of an exceptional levy on wealth which may only be levied in the year 2012; that this levy is to be determined after deducting the amount of the solidarity tax on wealth due for the year 2012; that the gross amount of this tax is deducted without taking into account the reductions claimed by the taxpayer on the solidarity tax on wealth; that moreover, in applying to the solidarity tax on wealth due in respect of the year 2012 from taxpayers liable to pay this tax, the right of restitution acquired pursuant to Articles 1 and 1649-0 A of the General Tax Code in relation to taxes pertaining to income earned in 2010 has an effect on the solidarity tax on wealth due in 2012; that under these circumstances, the breach of the principle of equality in the payment of public dues resulting from the lack of a ceiling provision or which generates equivalent effects cannot lead to the conclusion that this exceptional levy is unconstitutional;

35. Considering that according to the above, the objections alleging a breach of the principle of equality in the payment of public dues guaranteed by Articles 6 and 13 of the 1789 Declaration must be rejected;

36. Considering fourthly that the exceptional levy on wealth in respect of the year 2012 was established with reference to the value of assets and rights held on 1 January 2012; that nevertheless, the circumstance giving rise to liability is the taxpayer's situation on the date of entry into force of the Supplementary Law on finances; that only taxpayers who are alive on the date of the relevant fact are liable to pay the exceptional levy; that provision has also been made to enable taxpayers who left the country between 1 January and 4 July 2012 to deduct the value of their assets which are not located in France from the amount liable to the exceptional levy on wealth; that the tax established thereby has no retroactive element and does not affect legally acquired rights; that it does not run contrary to the guarantee of rights proclaimed by Article 16 of the 1789 Declaration;

37. Considering that Article 4 must be ruled constitutional;

– ARTICLE 10:

38. Considering that Article 10 makes provision for an exceptional levy for the year 2012 on the value of oil stocks and products;

39. Considering that, according to the applicant Senators, in taking as a basis for the exceptional levy taxable income corresponding to the oil products previously held over the last three months of the year 2011, by excluding from the scope of the tax individuals who did not own any stocks on 4 July 2012, by exempting owners who entirely ceased their activities for a continuous period exceeding three months over the course of the first half of 2012 and by including within the income liable to the tax holdings associated with the legal obligation to establish and maintain strategic stocks, the contested Article imposes a tax which bears no relation with the capacity to pay of taxpayers and which breaches the principle of equality in the payment of public dues;

40. Considering, in the first place, that the exceptional levy is due from companies which on 4 July 2012 owned volumes of oil products which fell under one of the tax suspension regimes provided for under Articles 158 A and 165 of the Customs Code; that this levy is based on the average value of those products thereby defined which were owned by taxpayers on the last day of each of the last three months of the year 2011; that the amount liable to the tax is determined on the basis of the volume of stocks held on the last day of each of the last three months of the year 2011 for the purpose of calculating the average volume of stocks of oil products held under a tax suspension regime; that the definition of the average value of oil products corresponds to that set on a lump-sum basis for the last quarter of the year 2011 in accordance with subparagraph 1 of paragraph 2 of Article 298 of the General Tax Code; that the definition of this average value for oil gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons is calculated on the basis of the cost price of these products on 31 December 2011; that the amount liable to the tax includes strategic stocks which must be established and held in accordance with Article L. 642-2 of the Energy Code;

41. Considering that Parliament intended to draw supplementary income from businesses from the oil industry due to the stocks owned by them under a tax suspension regime during the last quarter of 2011; that the Constitutional Council does not have a general power of discretion and decision making of the same nature as that of Parliament; that it cannot consider whether the goals which Parliament set itself could have been achieved in another manner, unless the procedures stipulated by law are manifestly inappropriate for the objective pursued; that in taxing ownership of oil products subject to a tax suspension regime irrespective of the reason for these stocks, Parliament stipulated a taxable act and established liability to taxation which was in keeping with the capacity to pay tax of businesses from the oil industry;

42. Considering secondly that Parliament excluded from the scope of the levy businesses which did not own any oil products subject to a tax suspension regime on 4 July 2012; that it made provision for an exemption from the levy for businesses which owned oil products on 4 July 2012 which were placed under a tax suspension regime if they had ceased their activities for a continuous period exceeding three months over the course of the first half of 2012; that it accordingly sought to take account of the situation of businesses which were in difficulty, including in particular refineries which had transferred ownership of their oil products or temporarily ceased operations; that in drawing a distinction between the circumstances of owners of oil products which ceased their operations for a continuous period exceeding three months as well as those of businesses which transferred ownership over their oil products, Parliament based its assessment on objective and rational criteria having regard to the goals pursued; that all owners of oil products on 4 July 2012 which held stocks on 31 December 2011 and have not ceased operations for more than three months will be liable to pay the tax under the same conditions;

43. Considering that according to the above, the objection alleging the breach of the principle of equality in the payment of public dues must be rejected; that Article 10 is not unconstitutional;

– ARTICLE 12:

44. Considering that pursuant to Article 30 of the aforementioned Law of 28 December 2011, companies liable to pay corporation tax with turnover in excess of EUR 250 million will be subject to an exceptional levy on this amount for the financial years ending between 31 December 2011 and 30 December 2013; that Article 12 of the law referred provides for the establishment of an advance payment of this exceptional levy; that this advance payment applying to financial years ending after 31 December 2012 will be enforceable from the date stipulated for payment of the last prepayment of corporation tax for the financial year of tax period; that the amount of the advance payment is set, for companies with turnover of between EUR 250 million and EUR 1 billion, at 75 % of the amount of the exceptional levy estimated for the financial year of tax period in progress, and for those with turnover in excess of EUR 1 billion, at 95 % of the amount of this levy;

45. Considering that, according to the applicant Members of Parliament, this provision will lead a number of businesses to pay this levy from 15 December 2012; that in adopting this measure, which is not foreseeable, Parliament infringed the guarantee of rights proclaimed by Article 16 of the 1789 Declaration;

46. Considering that the contested provisions which provide for the advance payment of this exceptional levy on corporation tax do not change the tax due for the financiql year ending after 31 December 2012; that they are not retroactive in nature; that Parliament did not encroach upon any acquired rights; that it did not breach Article 16 of the 1789 Declaration;

47. Considering that according to the above, Article 12 must be ruled constitutional;

– ARTICLE 20:

48. Considering that Article 30 of the aforementioned Law of 2 July 1990 provides that the liquidation and servicing of pensions granted under the Code of Civil and Military Retirement Pensions to the officials of La Poste and France Télécom are a matter for the State and that as consideration for this, these companies are required to pay to the Treasury an employer contribution with discharging effect in proportion with the amounts paid as salary subject to pension contributions; that, for France Télécom, "the discharging contribution rate is calculated in such a manner as to equalise the levels of social security and tax due on salaries from France Télécom and other companies from the telecommunications industry subject to ordinary social security obligations, for those risks which are common to employees working under ordinary arrangements and State officials"; that Article 20 of the law referred has the object of changing the procedures for calculating the payments which France Télécom must make to the State as consideration for the assumption by the latter of responsibility for its officials' pensions; that insofar as the aforementioned Article 30 annuls the reference to "those risks which are common to employees working under ordinary arrangements and State officials", it brings within the scope of the contribution paid by France Télécom the risks of unemployment and employee guarantees to which this part of its staff is not subject;

49. Considering that, according to the applicants, this provision implements the consequences of the aforementioned European Commission Decision of 20 December 2011 according to which the current configuration of this contribution amount to a State aid; that such a deduction, which falls under the category of "all types of taxes", is claimed to breach Article 34 of the Constitution insofar as it would have to be repaid to the company were the Decision of the European Commission to be annulled by the European Court of Justice which has been seized with an application to this effect; that it would also run contrary to the principle of equality of taxation insofar as the company which had already borne the financial consequences for the assumption by the State of responsibility for the retirement of its officials would be required to bear the burden of this new charge; that moreover, it would run contrary to the principle of equality in the payment of public dues on the grounds that La Poste is not subject to the same obligations;

50. Considering that in changing the procedures for calculating the payments which France Télécom must make to the State as consideration for the assumption by the latter of responsibility for its officials' pensions, the contested provisions have the sole object of equalising "the levels of social security and tax due on salaries from France Télécom and other companies from the telecommunications industry"; that Parliament thereby intended to comply with the aforementioned Decision of the European Commission of 20 December 2011 pending the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union before which this decision has been contested; that according to this judgment, the company France Télécom would be entitled to demand the repayment of the amounts paid in accordance with the contested provisions; that in themselves, these provisions do not breach the constitutional requirements resulting from Articles 6 and 13 of the 1789 Declaration; that the situations of La Poste and France Télécom are not identical; that no constitutional requirement demands that these companies be subject to the same rules;

51. Considering that Article 20, which does not breach Article 34 of the Constitution, must be ruled constitutional;

– ARTICLE 28:

52. Considering that Article 28 lowers the reduced rate of value added tax on books and certain performances; that according to the applicant Members of Parliament, insofar as it provides for different treatment between establishments in which variety performances are given depending upon whether it is customary to consume food and drink during the shows, Article 28 breaches the principle of equality of taxation;

53. Considering that subparagraph 1 of paragraph I of Article 28 amended Article 278-0 a of the General Tax Code; that it completes the list of activities or operations for which value added tax is charged at the reduced rate of 5.5 %; that letter b) of subparagraph 1 completes the list with part F, subparagraph 1 of which provides that the following are to be subject to the reduced rate of taxation: "The following performances: theatres, cabaret theatres, circuses, concerts; variety performances except those which are given in establishments where it is customary to consume food and drink during the shows"; that letter a) of subparagraph 3 of paragraph I of Article 28 consequently repeals the second to sixth subparagraphs of letter b a of Article 279 of the Code, which subjected these performances to a value added tax rate of 7 %;

54. Considering that the contested provision has the sole objective of reducing from 7 % to 5.5 % the rate of value added tax on certain performances, whilst maintaining an exclusion for variety performances from the reduced rate where they are given in establishments where it is customary to consume food and drink during shows; that this exclusion creates a difference in treatment between performances given under different conditions; that it does not establish a difference in treatment between individuals in the same situation; that there has been no clear breach of the principle of equality in the payment of public dues; that the second subparagraph of letter b) of paragraph 1 and letter a) of subparagraph 3 of paragraph I of Article 28 must be ruled constitutional;

– ARTICLE 29:

55. Considering that Article 29, which amended Articles L. 136-6, L. 136-7, L. 245-14 and L. 245-15 of the Social Security Code as well as Articles 15 and 16 of the aforementioned Ordinance of 24 January 1996 subjects to the social levy on income from wealth, the social charge on income from wealth, the additional levy to this social charge and the levy for repayment of the health service debt the revenue from real estate located in France or from the rights relating to such properties earned after 1 January 2012 in respect of natural persons domiciled outwith France; that it subjects to the social levy on investment income, the social charge on investment income, the additional levy to this social charge and the levy for repayment of the health service debt any capital gains on the sale of assets or rights over real estate or by real estate companies earned by natural persons domiciled outwith France after the publication of the Law;

56. Considering that, according to the applicants, these provisions have no place in a law on finances and breach the European commitments of France;

57. Considering, in the first place, that the social levies on income from wealth and on income from investment, the social charges on income from wealth and on income from investment and the levy for repayment of the health service debt are intended to ensure funding coverage for mandatory social security regimes and for bodies contributing to funding these regimes or the repayment of their debt and do not amount to contributions establishing rights to the services and benefits provided by these regimes; that the additional contribution to the social charges on income from wealth and investment, which is intended to finance the national active solidarity funds, no longer amounts to a contribution establishing rights to the payments made out of these funds; that accordingly, the provisions of Article 29 concern the amount liable to taxation or the rate of taxation of any kind; that they could therefore be included in a supplementary law on finances; that Article 29 was accordingly adopted in accordance with a procedure which is not unconstitutional;

58. Considering secondly that pursuant to Article 55 of the Constitution: "Treaties or agreements duly ratified or approved shall, upon publication, prevail over Acts of Parliament, subject, with respect to each agreement or treaty, to its application by the other party"; that whilst these provisions grant treaties a status higher than laws, under the conditions stipulated by them, they do not require or imply that respect for this principle must be assured within the ambit of proceedings involving the constitutional review of legislation; that the head of the application referring to the incompatibility of a legislative provision with the international law and European commitments of France cannot be regarded as an objection of unconstitutionality; that the examination of such a challenge based on EU law or on the EU treaties falls under the jurisdiction of the ordinary and administrative courts;

59. Considering that the contested provisions, which do not have the objective of establishing double taxation, do not breach any constitutional requirement; that accordingly, Article 29 must be ruled constitutional;

– ARTICLE 32:

60. Considering that Article 32 amends Article L. 137-11 of the Social Security Code on the contributions paid by employers on retirement regimes which have an affect on the establishment of rights to benefits upon completion of the beneficiary's career in the company, and which are not funded by the employer on an individual basis; that it doubles the rate of this contribution by raising it to 32 % where the contribution is based on annuities, to 24 % where it is based on the amount of premiums paid by the employer in order to finance these regimes, and to 48 % where it is based on the part of the charge to provisions or of the amount mentioned in the annex to the accounts corresponding to the cost of the services provided over the course of the financial year; that the increase in the rate of the contribution based on annuities paid applies to those corresponding to pensions to be liquidated after 1 January 2013;

61. Considering that, according to the applicant Members of Parliament, in stipulating that this change to the rate was only to apply to pensions to be liquidated after 1 January 2013, these provisions established a difference in treatment with annuities liquidated prior to this date which bore no relation with the objective of the Law;

62. Considering that in applying the rise in the contribution rate only to annuities paid for pensions to be liquidated after 1 January 2013, Parliament did not intend to call into question the contribution rate applicable to annuities paid for pensions which had already been liquidated or which would be before 31 December 2012; that, since the matter related to retirement pensions, Parliament's choice to render the contribution rate dependent on the liquidation date of these pensions did not breach the principle of equality; that Article 32 must be ruled constitutional;

– ARTICLE 41:

63. Considering that Article 41 concerns medical assistance provided by the State; that subparagraph 1 of paragraph I of Article 41 removes from Article L. 251-1 of the Code of Social Action and Families the requirement of payment of an annual fee in order to gain eligibility for medical assistance provided by the State; that subparagraph 2 of the paragraph removes from Article L. 251-2 of the Code the requirement for prior approval of the provision of certain forms of hospital care to individuals receiving this aid; that subparagraph 3 of the same paragraph amends within Article L. 252-1 of the Code the list of bodies with which an application relating to this assistance may be filed; that subparagraph 4 also of that paragraph repeals Article L. 253-3-1 of the Code on the National fund for State medical aid; that paragraph II abolishes Article 968 E of the General Tax Code establishing this fee; that paragraph III specifies the conditions for the application of this reform;

64. Considering that, according to the applicant Senators, these provisions have no place within a law on finances; that according to the applicant Members of Parliament, the provision of free healthcare to foreign nationals who are illegally in France breaches the principle of the proper use of public funds as well as the objective of constitutional standing of the fight against fraud and also breaches the principle of equality, taking account of the difference established between the recipients of State medical assistance and the individuals whose care is covered by health insurance, who are required to pay the healthcare excesses; that the applicant Members of Parliament argue that the amendment, which was adopted during the first reading before the Senate, which introduced the provisions of subparagraph 3 of paragraph I, should have been ruled procedurally inadmissible at the time it was tabled on the grounds that it would have the consequence of increasing public expenditure;

With regard to the procedure:

65. Considering, in the first place, that the provisions of Article 41, governing the conditions applicable to access to State medical assistance, have a direct impact on the State's budgeted costs; that these provisions therefore may be included in a supplementary law on finances;

66. Considering secondly that pursuant to Article 40 of the Constitution: "Private Members' Bills and amendments introduced by Members of Parliament shall not be admissible where their enactment would result in either a diminution of public revenue or the creation or increase of any public expenditure"; that, in order for the Constitutional Council to be able to examine its compatibility with Article 40 of the Constitution, any question regarding the procedural admissibility within a finance bill of an amendment of parliamentary origin must have been raised before the first house which was apprised of the matter; that in this case, the the admissibility of the amendment which resulted in the enactment of subparagraph 3 of paragraph I of Article 41 was not contested before the Senate pursuant to Article 40 of the Constitution; that since the question concerning the procedural admissibility of the amendment was not raised before the Senate, it cannot be invoked directly by the applicant Members of Parliament before the Constitutional Council;

67. Considering that according to the above, the provisions of Article 41 were not adopted according to an unconstitutional procedure;

With regard to the substantive content:

68. Considering that pursuant to the eleventh recital of the 1946 Preamble, the Nation "shall guarantee to all, notably to children, mothers and elderly workers, protection of their health, material security, rest and leisure. All people who, by virtue of their age, physical or mental condition, or economic situation, are incapable of working, shall have to the right to receive suitable means of existence from society"; that Parliament is free at any time, when ruling on matters within its competence, to amend previous legislation or repeal it and, depending on the circumstances, replace it with other provisions, provided that when exercising this power, it does not deprive these constitutional requirements of legal guarantees;

69. Considering that State medical assistance benefits foreign nationals illegally residing in France on a continuous basis for more than three months whose financial means do not exceed the threshold set by decree pursuant to Article L. 861-1 of the Social Security Code; that this aid imposes on the State the healthcare costs referred to in Article L. 251-2 of the Code of Social Action and Families;

70. Considering on the one hand that French nationals and foreign nationals lawfully resident in France whose financial means are lower than the threshold set by decree pursuant to Article L. 861-1 of the Social Security Code receive, according to that Article, complementary cover without any corresponding duty to contribute; that according to Article L. 322-4 of the Code, the contribution referred to in paragraph II of Article L. 322-2 of the Code and the healthcare excesses provided for under paragraph III are not required from the recipients of this complementary protection; that accordingly, the head of the application challenging the difference in treatment between individuals in receipt of State medical assistance and the individuals in receipt of universal complementary illness lacks a factual basis;

71. Considering on the other hand that in restoring the rule that State medical assistance is to be free of charge for foreign nationals illegally resident in France, Parliament did not breach the requirements stipulated in the eleventh recital to the 1946 Preamble;

72. Considering that according to the above, Article 41 must be ruled constitutional;

– ARTICLE 42:

73. Considering that pursuant to Article 133 of the aforementioned Law of 27 December 2008: "Any extension to the adoption of responsibility for the school fees of French children educated in a French teaching establishment abroad above year ten, year eleven and year twelve shall only occur after an impact study which shall be transmitted to Parliament and shall in particular specify the manner in which it is to be financed"; that Article 141 of the aforementioned Law of 29 December 2010 provides that: "Notwithstanding the award of schooling grants, the assumption of responsibility by the State for the school fees of French children educated in a French teaching establishment abroad may not exceed a limit for each establishment set by decree, to be adopted after consultation with the Assembly of French citizens abroad and no later than 31 July 2011.

"The limit shall be determined in accordance with the school fees set during the reference year by decree; it shall be adjusted annually by order, in order to take account in particular of variations in exchange rates and local living conditions";

74. Considering that paragraph I of Article 42 of the law referred repealed these provisions and that paragraph II provides for the submission to Parliament by the Government of a report "setting out the consequences of the abolition of the assumption of responsibility for the school fees of French children educated in a French teaching establishment abroad and on the adjustments to be made to grants based on social criteria";

75. Considering that, according to the applicant Members of Parliament and Senators, in abolishing the rule whereby the State is to assume responsibility for school fees in French teaching establishments abroad, the provisions of Article 42 violate the principle that public teaching is to be provided free of charge; that the applicant Members of Parliament claim moreover that in reintroducing school fees "from the start of the 2012 academic year", these provisions violate the principle of legal certainty; that they finally violate the principle of equality between children educated in public establishments, depending upon whether they attend school in France or abroad;

76. Considering in the first place that the second sentence of the thirteenth recital of the Preamble to the 1946 Constitution provides that: "The provision of free, public and secular education at all levels is a duty of the State"; that this constitutional obligation to organise free, public and secular teaching does not apply to the State outwith the territory of the Republic; that the contested provisions concern the conditions governing the assumption of responsibility for the school fees of French children educated in French establishments abroad; that accordingly, the head of the application alleging a breach of the principle of free public education is ineffective; that the principle of equality before the law does not require that French children educated abroad receive free schooling;

77. Considering secondly that Parliament is free at any time, when ruling on matters within its competence, to amend previous legislation or repeal it and, depending on the circumstances, replace it with other provisions, provided that when exercising this power, it does not deprive these constitutional requirements of legal guarantees; that the contested provisions are not in any sense retroactive and do not call affect any acquired rights; that accordingly, the head of the application complaining of the breach of legal certainty must in any case be rejected;

78. Considering that the provisions of Article 42 must be ruled constitutional;

– ARTICLE 40:

79. Considering that pursuant to paragraph I of Article 14 of the aforementioned Law of 6 August 2002: "The President of the Republic and the members of the Government shall receive gross monthly remuneration calculated with reference to the salaries of the officials within State employment classified in the highest category on the pay scale ["hors échelle"]. This shall not exceed two times the average of the lowest salary and highest salary within this category.

"This remuneration shall be supplemented by a residence allowance equal to 3 % of its amount and by a service allowance equal to 25% of the total of the gross remuneration plus the residence allowance.

"The gross monthly remuneration, the residence allowance and the service allowance of the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister shall be equal to the higher of the amounts determined under the two subparagraphs set out above increased by 50 %.

"The gross monthly remuneration and the residence allowance shall be subject to mandatory social security contributions and income tax in accordance with the rules applicable to remuneration and salaries.

"The elements of the remuneration of the President of the Republic shall be exclusive of any other remuneration, pension, premium or allowance, except those due in relation to his family";

80. Considering that Article 40 of the law referred lowers the rate fixed in the thirteenth subparagraph of paragraph I from 50 % to 5 %;

81. Considering that Article 16 of the 1789 Declaration provides: "A society in which the guarantee of rights is not assured, nor the separation of powers defined, has no constitution at all"; that according to Article 5 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic is the guarantor of national independence and territorial integrity; that according to the first subparagraph of Article 20: "The Government shall determine and conduct the policy of the Nation"; that the principle of the separation of powers applies between the President of the Republic and the Government;

82. Considering that in modifying the remuneration of the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, Article 40 of the law referred breaches the principle of the separation of powers; that accordingly it must be ruled unconstitutional;

83. Considering that the constitutionality of a law which has already been promulgated may be assessed during a review of legislative provisions which amend or supplement or affect its scope; that in this case, Article 40 amends the provisions of paragraph I of Article 14 of the aforementioned Law of 6 August 2002; that these provisions on the remuneration of the President of the Republic and the members of the Government must be ruled unconstitutional on the same grounds;

– THE PLACE OF OTHER PROVISIONS IN THE SUPPLEMENTARY LAW ON FINANCES:

84. Considering that the ;qin objective of paragraph I of Article 11 is to amend Article 42-3 of the aforementioned Law of 30 September 1986 in order to establish a requirement for approval by the Supreme Audiovisual Council in cases involving the direct or indirect control of a company which holds authorisation to broadcast over the radio spectrum; that paragraph II of that Article introduces into the General Tax Code a new Article 235 b ZG which imposes a tax on the transfer of the accreditation of an audio-visual communication service broadcaster; that paragraph III of that Article specifies the scope of paragraphs I and II of that Article;

85. Considering in the first place that paragraph I of Article 11, which provides for the introduction of an approval procedure in cases involving the transfer of parts of companies which hold a broadcasting licence for an audio-visual communication service does not relate to the resources, expenditure, treasury, borrowing, debt, guarantees or accounting of the State; that it does not concern taxation of any nature imposed on legal persons other than the State; that it does not have the objective of allocating provisions to local government bodies or approving financial conventions; that it does not relate to the pecuniary liability regime for public service agents or the provision of information to and control by Parliament over the management of public resources; that accordingly, paragraph I of Article 11 falls outwith the scope of supplementary laws on finance as specified under the basic law of 1 August 2001; that it was adopted according to a procedure which was unconstitutional;

86. Considering secondly that paragraph II of Article 11 establishes a tax on the transfer of the accreditation of an audio-visual communication service broadcaster; that it provides that the amount liable to this tax shall be comprised of the sum total of contributions, transfers or exchanges of accreditations, which cumulatively over six months result in the transfer of control over a company which holds a licence to use the radio spectrum; that it however subjects payment of the tax to the prerequisite that the contribution, transfer or exchange of accreditation have been approved in advance by the Supreme Audiovisual Council in accordance with the procedure laid down under paragraph I of that Article; that accordingly, the provisions of paragraph II of Article 11, which cannot be separated from paragraph I, have no place in a supplementary law on finances;

87. Considering that, accordingly, Article 11 of the law referred must in any case be ruled unconstitutional;

88. Considering that there are no grounds for the Constitutional Council to raise any other question of compatibility with the Constitution ex officio,

HELD :

Article 1. – The following provisions of the Supplementary Law on finances for 2012 are ruled unconstitutional:

– Article 11;

– Article 40;

Article 2.– The following provisions of the same Law are ruled constitutional:

– Articles 3, 4, 10, 12 and 20 ;

– letter b of subparagraph 1 of paragraph I of Article 28, subparagraph 1 of paragraph F of Article 278-0 q of the General Tax Code and letter a) of subparagraph 3 of paragraph I of Article 28;

– Articles 29, 32, 41 and 42;

Article 3. – Paragraph I of Article 14 of Law no. 2002-1050 of 6 August 2002 on the adjustment of finances for 2002 is unconstitutional.

Article 4. – This decision shall be published in the Journal officiel of the French Republic.

Deliberated by the Constitutional Council in its session of 9 August 2012, sat on by: Mr JeanLouis DEBRÉ, President, Mr Jacques BARROT, Mrs Claire BAZY MALAURIE, Mr Guy CANIVET, Mr Renaud DENOIX de SAINT MARC, Mr Valéry GISCARD d'ESTAING, Mrs Jacqueline de GUILLENCHMIDT, Mr Hubert HAENEL and Mr Pierre STEINMETZ.