What is the parliamentary reserve that some deputies want to revive

It was one of the first feats of arms of the Edouard Philippe government, only a few months after the election of Emmanuel Macron in 2017. As part of the law on the moralization of political life, the deputies had approved the abolition of the parliamentary reserve. Six years later, a hundred elected officials, some of whom were at the time campaigning for its abolition, are calling for its great return in the name of the interests of the municipalities and constituencies they represent.

A management “too distant and far from the territories”

Because this device allowed these parliamentarians to benefit from an envelope of around 130,000 euros in which they could draw to finance projects within their strongholds. In 2017, this reserve came under fire from the criticism of the majority, on the grounds that it would promote clientelism and opacity. But last week, on the initiative of deputies André Villiers (Renaissance) and Dino Cinieri (Les Républicains), more than 120 deputies signed a text to demand its restoration.

“This deletion has aroused the incomprehension of many associations and municipalities which could count on this support to bring certain projects to fruition”, advance the signatories of this text, pointing to a management “too distant and distant from the territories”. The elected officials concerned nevertheless wish to take into account the concerns surrounding this parliamentary reserve and say they want to “frame the device” by reserving it for “municipalities of less than 18,000 inhabitants and [aux] associations”. “In addition, to avoid any deviation in the allocation of funds, the list of beneficiaries and the amounts allocated should be made public”, conclude the parliamentarians.

The President of the Assembly, reluctant to restore the reserve

Among those who gave their support to this bill are several deputies who had voted in favor of the abolition of the reserve six years ago. In 2021, already, some elected representatives of the majority confided their regrets. “I think we got it wrong in 2017,” MoDem MP Laurence Vichnievsky said at the time. The subject had been raised before the Assembly’s Law Commission by its then vice-president, Stéphane Mazars (LREM). “It was my first election. I realized the importance of the reserve too late”, declared last Monday the deputy MoDem Jean-Pierre Cubertafon in the columns of the Parisian.

From now on, for the text to be debated at the Palais-Bourbon, it must be on the agenda of the Assembly. A hemicycle chaired by Yaël Braun-Pivet who was, in 2017, the rapporteur of the text activating the abolition of this device. Nearby Parisian, she confirms that her position has not changed on the issue. “I do not want to reintroduce it, for the same reasons that led us to remove it in 2017: the role of a parliamentarian is not to allocate public funds to a territory”.

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