Subsidy from Paris town hall to SOS Méditerranée canceled by justice

In a decision rendered on Friday, the Paris Administrative Court of Appeal criticizes the community for having “interfered” in France’s foreign policy by subsidizing the Migrants Aid NGO.


The Paris Administrative Court of Appeal canceled, Friday, March 3, a subsidy of 100,000 euros granted in 2019 by the City of Paris to the NGO SOS Méditerranée, a decision for which the organization of rescue for migrants considers an appeal to the Council of State.

By granting this subsidy, “the Paris Council must be regarded as having intended to take sides and interfere in matters under the foreign policy of France and the competence of the institutions of the European Union, as well as in Disputes, of a political nature, between member states “, judge the magistrates.

Since 2015, SOS Méditerranée has regularly chartered boats in the Mediterranean to save migrants trying to reach Europe by sea. Its expeditions, and those of other NGOs, were the source of diplomatic scrambles between member states of member states The European Union, which has returned the responsibility to welcome the migrants rescued.

In July 2019, the Paris town hall, led by the socialist Anne Hidalgo, had decided to grant aid of 100,000 euros to SOS Méditerranée and to decorate the captains of a humanitarian ship of another NGO, prosecuted by justice in Italy for illegal immigration aid. This decision had outraged the Italian extreme right, notably the Minister of the Interior of the time, Matteo Salvini.

“Take sides in an international conflict”

The Parisian court recalls that “a local authority cannot (…) ignore the international commitments of France or, by attributing a subsidy, take sides in a political conflict or dispute or interfere in the conduct of Foreign policy of France “. However, “the officials of the association have also publicly criticized, and declared that they want to thwart by their action the policies defined and implemented by the European Union and the member states in matters of immigration and asylum”, Note the magistrates.

“The Paris Council heard the criticisms of this association against these migration policies,” they add, citing the content of the debates on this subject. Joined by the France-Presse agency Friday afternoon, the Paris town hall was unable to comment on the decision.

For its part, the NGO said that it “worries” the court decision and says it is very seriously studying the possibility of appeal to the Council of State “. She recalled that “the rescue at sea is not political, it is a humanitarian action, which is a moral and legal obligation, guaranteed by international conventions”.

/Media reports cited above.