On 10 April 2019, the Constitutional Council, in the conditions provided for by section 4 of Article 11, and the first section of Article 61 of the Constitution, received a proposed law seeking to affirm the operation of Paris airport facilities as a type of national public service, under no. 2019-1 RIP.
Having regard to the following texts:
- the Constitution, specifically Articles 11 and 40;
- Ordinance No. 58-1067 of 7 November 1958, constituting an institutional act on the Constitutional Council, specifically its Article 45-2;
- Institutional Act No. 2013-1114 of 6 December 2013 constituting the application of Article 11 of the Constitution, with the Constitutional Council's conformity decision (DC) no. 2013-681 DC of 5 December 2013;
Having regard to the following documents:
- the observations of the Government, registered on 23 April 2019;
- the observations of Sébastien Nadot, Member of Parliament, registered on the same date;
- the observations in response to Valérie Rabault and several other Members of Parliament, registered on 29 April 2019;
- the observations in response to Gilles Carrez, Member of Parliament, registered on the same date;
- the observations in response to Patrick Kanner, Senator, registered on the same date;
And after having heard the rapporteur;
THE CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL DECIDED THAT:
The proposed law submitted for review to the Constitutional Council was tabled at the National Assembly as provided for in section 3 of Article 11 of the Constitution.
According to sections 1, 3, 4, and 6 of Article 11 of the Constitution: “The President of the Republic may, on a recommendation from the Government when Parliament is in session, or on a joint motion of the two Houses, published in the Journal Officiel, submit to a referendum any Government Bill which deals with the organisation of the public authorities, or with reforms relating to the economic or social policy of the Nation, and to the public services contributing thereto, or which provides for authorisation to ratify a treaty which, although not contrary to the Constitution, would affect the functioning of the institutions.”
“A referendum concerning a subject mentioned in the first section may be held upon the initiative of one fifth of the Members of Parliament, supported by one tenth of the voters enrolled on the RIPtoral register. This initiative shall take the form of a Private Member's Bill and shall not be applied to the repeal of a statutory provision promulgated for less than one year.”
“The conditions by which it is introduced and those according to which the Constitutional Council monitors the respect of the provisions of the previous section, are set down by an Institutional Act.”
“Where the decision of the French people in the referendum is not favourable to the Private Member's Bill, no new referendum proposal on the same subject may be submitted before the end of a period of two years following the date of the vote.”
According to Article 45-2 of the aforementioned Ordinance of 7 November 1958: “Within one month of it being presented with the proposed law, the Constitutional Council verifies that:
“1. The proposed law is presented by at least one fifth of the Members of Parliament, this fifth being calculated using the actual number of seats provided at the date of registration of receipt by the Constitutional Council, rounded up to the nearest whole number in case of any fractions present;
“2. Its subject respects the conditions provided for in sections 3 and 6 of Article 11 of the Constitution, said delays being calculated as of the date of registration of receipt by the Constitutional Council;
“3. And that no provision of the proposed law is unconstitutional.”
Firstly, the proposed law was presented by at least one fifth of the Members of Parliament on the date of registration of receipt by the Constitutional Council.
Secondly, its purpose is to establish that “planning, operation, and development of the Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle, Paris-Orly, and Paris-Le Bourget airport facilities is a type of national public service in the sense of section 9 of the Preamble of the Constitution of 27 October 1946.”
This results in the proposed law covering national economic policy and the public services that serve it. The proposition does therefore fulfil one of the purposes mentioned in section 1 of Article 11 of the Constitution.
Moreover, as of the date of registering the receipt, it did not serve to repeal a statutory provision promulgated for less than one year. And no proposed law for the same purpose had been submitted to referendum in the past two years.
Lastly, according to section 9 of the Preamble of the Constitution of 1946: “All property and all enterprises that have or that may acquire the character of a public service or de facto monopoly shall become the property of society.” If the need for certain national public services comes from principles or rules of constitutional value, the determination of other activities that have to be considered as national public services is left to the legislator's discretion or to the regulatory authority, whichever the case may be.
The planning, operation, and development of the Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle, Paris-Orly and Paris-Le Bourget airport facilities do not constitute a national public service whose need is based on principles or rules of constitutional value. The proposed law, which has the purpose of considering these activities as a national public service, does not itself contain an evident lack of appreciation with regards to section 9 of the Preamble of the Constitution of 1946.
It follows from the foregoing that the proposed law complies with the conditions set by Article 11 of the Constitution, and by Article 45-2 of the Ordinance of 7 November 1958, as written.
Therefore, the opening of the period for votes from voters in favour of the proposed law must take place in the month following the publication in the Journal Officiel of the French Republic of this decision. The number of votes in favour of the law from voters that are on the voter rolls that must be gathered is 4,717,396.
THE CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL DECIDES:
Article 1 - The proposed law seeking to affirm the operation of Paris airport facilities as a type of national public service conforms to the conditions set by Article 11 of the Constitution, and by Article 45-2 of Ordinance No. 58-1067 of 7 November 1958 constituting an institutional act on the Constitutional Council.
Article 2. - The opening of the period to collect votes from voters in favour of the proposed law seeking to affirm the operation of Paris airport facilities as a type of national public service must take place during the month following the publication of this decision in the Journal Officiel.
Article 3. - Until the decision by which the Constitutional Council will determine if the proposed law has received the support of at least 4,717,396 favourable votes from voters on the voter rolls, the review of the proposed law by Parliament is suspended.
Article 4. - This decision shall be published in the Journal Officiel of the French Republic.
Ruled by the Constitutional Council in its 9 May 2019 session, with the following members present: Laurent FABIUS, President, Claire BAZY MALAURIE, Alain JUPPÉ, Dominique LOTTIN, Corinne LUQUIENS, Nicole MAESTRACCI, Jacques MÉZARD, François PILLET and Michel PINAULT.
Published on 9 May 2019.