The Secretary of State in charge of Youth and Engagement, Sarah El Haïry, announces to “Echos” that 100 million euros will be mobilized to “preserve the wealth of the French associative fabric”. Of this sum, 45 million will come to support the treasuries and 40 million to strengthen the equity of the largest associations. The other 15 million will finance 2,000 subsidized jobs known as Fonjep targeted on projects.
How did the associations cope with the shock caused by the Covid-19 epidemic?
Faced with the shock, there were two types of reactions. There are entire sections of the associative fabric, particularly in the medico-social sector, which immediately over-committed themselves to fight against the problems caused by confinement: precariousness, the loneliness of the elderly, dropping out of school. And for that, they have often innovated for example with the development of remote services or drives.
Other associations had to suddenly stop their activities, I am of course thinking of the world of culture, sport or social tourism. Overnight, youth hostels closed, drama classes stopped. We have more than 50% of associations who tell us that they have lost income, revenue due to a total or partial stoppage of their activity.
However, the recovery plan does not contain any measures targeted at associations …
The recovery plan also concerns associations. Those which are, for example, in the sectors of tourism, aid to vulnerable people, culture or sport, are of course concerned by the measures targeted on these activities. The associations also have access to the loan guaranteed by the State. Those who have employees, provided they have suffered a decrease in their resources, can mobilize partial unemployment.
But that does not mean that all are affected by the plan. However, the stake is major: we have today in France 1.5 million associations with 22 billion of assets and an annual budget of 170 billion euros. Almost one in 10 private sector employees works in an association since there are 2 million of them. No association should be forgotten by the recovery plan. It is the mother of all battles to preserve the richness of the French associative fabric. This is the whole issue of all the provisions that will complete the recovery plan.
What are they?
They are twofold, financial and human, because there is no question in the current context of weakening associations and, therefore, their employees. On the financial side, we are going to complete the measures of the recovery plan to respond to the particularities of the associative world. 100 million will be mobilized for this between 2020 and 2022.
What will this amount be used for?
Of this amount, 45 million will be devoted to cash flow assistance measures by 2022 through France Active. They will take the form of a 0% contribution contract up to 30,000 euros over 5 years, a 0% stimulus loan over 18 months up to 100,000 euros or even a participating loan between 2 and 4 % up to 500,000 euros over 10 years.
Which associations will have access to it?
All. But in fact, it is probably the smallest that will be the most interested. This measure complements the recovery plan and aims to meet daily needs. It is this association which usually has the habit of holding a fair to finance itself, another which needs to pay its expenses and has seen its resources cut off during confinement. Banks do not lend to associations that do not have their own funds.
What are the other measures?
In addition, another 40 million euros will be targeted at larger associations to strengthen their equity – often insufficient – in order to enable them to invest in their long-term development projects, and to access credit. To do this, they will be able to issue bonds to which the Banque des Territoires can subscribe after analyzing the projects. And then, it is also necessary to facilitate the life of the leaders of associations. I want to accelerate the deployment of the project launched two years ago “the account-association” which avoids having to reconstitute a file for each administrative request. I am setting myself the deadline for the first quarter of 2021.
And the remaining 15 million?
They will be allocated to the Youth and Popular Education Cooperation Fund. They will make it possible to finance the creation of 2,000 posts assigned to the conduct of a specific project, known as Fonjep posts. The amount of aid is 7,000 euros each year for three years. It covers at least a third of the salary cost. This will allow a strengthening of human resources. Like the 100,000 additional civic services of the youth plan, the cost of which represents a total of 611 million euros over 2020-2022. It is all new energies for associations. And then the human, it is obviously all the volunteers. The confinement has changed the situation. Via the jeveuxaider.gouv.fr site, we can facilitate the connection between citizens and associations. It must be developed.
You had worked on two bills before entering government. What will become of them?
One is at the end of its journey and I hope it will quickly be placed on the Senate’s agenda for second reading. One of its provisions is particularly close to my heart: that which allows, as in Italy with the property of the Mafia, a social use of property ill-gotten by making it available to associations. The other, which concerns the responsibility of association leaders, aims to strengthen confidence and must arrive at the Senate at first reading after a unanimous vote in the Assembly.
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