RSA against volunteering: for justice, the device is illegal

VIDEO – The Strasbourg Administrative Court considers that the Haut-Rhin Departmental Council is not competent to condition the payment of the RSA. Contacted by Le Figaro, Eric Straumann, deputy LR, ensures that the department will appeal.

No volunteering, no RSA. The principle that the Haut-Rhin Departmental Council and its president, Eric Straumann, wanted to apply, was deemed illegal by the Strasbourg Administrative Court on Wednesday. This very controversial measure was taken on February 5 by the Departmental Council. It required RSA recipients to do seven hours of volunteering per week for associations, local communities, retirement homes or public establishments.

»» Read also:

“The Court annulled the contested deliberation by considering that the department could not consider conditioning, in general, the payment of the RSA to the accomplishment of such voluntary actions”, explains the Court in a press release that Le Figaro procured. The judges believe that the payment conditions are “exclusively defined”.

“We are going to appeal”

They point out that voluntary work can be offered to the beneficiary as part of social integration. On the other hand, they depend on “the particular situation of the person concerned”. In other words, they are part of a very specific contract. The payment of the RSA can therefore be suspended, by the president of the departmental council, only if the said volunteering hours appear in the commitments made within the framework of a reciprocal engagement contract, and are not respected by the beneficiary, . The QPC, a priority question of constitutionality, filed this summer and emphasizing article 72 of the Constitution (Editor’s note: article which sets out the principle of “free administration of local communities), was simultaneously rejected.

This court decision thus proves the prefect of Haut-Rhin, Pascal Lelarge, who appealed to justice in the first place. “We must keep in mind that the active solidarity income is a social measure, aimed at combating poverty and exclusion”,. “However, this device, by making volunteering compulsory, does not respect the framework of the law”. In fact, the principle advanced by this device already exists in France, in particular and in Cayeux-sur-Mer, but it is based solely on volunteering.

Contacted by Le Figaro, the president of the Departmental Council and deputy Republicans, Eric Straumann, does not seem surprised by this court decision. “We are going to appeal, and there will surely be an appeal in cassation”, he insists. “We are all the same in an enormous paradox: the RSA is a competence which has been transferred to the communities, and not delegated”. Eric Straumann remains determined to put this system in place from January 1, 2017. To do this, the Departmental Council plans to integrate this system into the reciprocal engagement contract.