Version updated on 18 May 2020
Presentation of three ordinances issued on the basis of article 11 of the emergency law of 23 March 2020 to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic, which authorises the Government to take, within three months, any measure falling within the scope of the law and enabling it to deal with the economic, financial and social consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic:
- Ordinance No. 2020-330 of 25 March 2020 on budgetary, financial and fiscal continuity measures for local authorities (collectivités territoriales) and local public establishments (établissements publics locaux) in order to deal with the consequences of Covid-19;
- Ordinance No. 2020-347 of 27 March 2020 adapting the law applicable to the operation of public establishments and administrative collegiate bodies during the state of public health emergency, as amended by Ordinance No. 2020-560 of 13 May 2020 setting the time limits applicable to various procedures during the public health emergency;
- Ordinance No. 2020-391 of 1 April 2020 aimed at ensuring the continuing operation of local institutions and the exercise of their powers of local authorities and local public establishments in order to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic, as amended by Ordinance No. 2020-562 of 13 May 2020 aimed at adapting the operation of local institutions and the exercise of the powers of local authorities and local public establishments to the extension of the state of public health emergency in the context of the Covid-19 epidemic.
These ordinances introduce flexibility in order to guarantee, until the end of the state of public health emergency, the continuing operation of local authorities, public institutions and administrative collegiate bodies.
ADJUSTMENTS AFFECTING THE OPERATION OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES (collectivités territoriales)
Expanding the prerogatives of local executive branches, by derogation to ordinary law:
- the executive branch of any local authority or of any public establishments for inter-municipal cooperation (EPCI) may take, in the absence of delegation from the deliberative body, any decisions falling within the latter's remit which would, under normal circumstances, be delegated to the executive by the deliberative body. The exercise of these prerogatives by the executive in the absence of mandate from the deliberative body, runs up to the first meeting of the relevant deliberative body, which may then decide to put an end to its exercise in whole or in part [applicable from 12 March 2020 to 10 July 2020 inclusive];
- the executive branch of any local authority may, without deliberation of the deliberative body, proceed to the allocation of subsidies to any association and may offer guarantees in respect of any loan until 10 July 2020 inclusive (Ordinance No. 2020-391 of 1 April 2020);
- reinstatement as of 26 March 2020 of the delegations of borrowing powers, granted to the executive by any municipal council or by the deliberative body of an EPCI, provided such delegation had ended with the municipal campaign of March 2020. The exercise of these prerogatives runs up to the first meeting of the municipal council or the deliberative body of an EPCI;
- unless otherwise decided by the regional council (conseil régional), the presidents of the regional councils may grant financial aid to any company (on the basis of Article L.1511-2 of the Code général des collectivités territoriales (CGCT)), up to a limit of 200,000 euros per financial aid (taking into account the outstanding aid credit on the balance of a company), until a date set by decree and no later than 26 September 2020;
- in the event that the 2020 local budget was not adopted by their local deliberative body, local executive bodies may, without prior authorisation from their respective deliberative bodies, commit, liquidate and mandate the totality of the investment expenditure (excluding debt annuities and programme authorisations) provided for in the local budget for 2019, within the limit of the appropriations opened;
- local executive bodies may, for the financial year 2020, and without a mandate from their respective deliberative organs, make budgetary appropriation changes from chapter to chapter, up to a maximum of 15% of the actual expenditure of each section in the 2019 budget (excluding appropriations relating to personnel costs);
- unless otherwise agreed by the deliberative body, the executive body of any local authority may sign the agreement with the State allowing the financing of the solidarity fund for companies created by the State, during the duration of that fund (Ordinance No. 2020-330 of 25 March 2020).
Relaxation of budgetary rules:
- Postponement of the deadline for adoption of (i) the 2019 accounts and (ii) the initial 2020 budget, up to and including, in the case of a budget settled by the prefect after referral to the regional audit chamber (chambre régionale des comptes), 31 July 2020 (the deadline for transmission of the management accounts by the local authority's accountant being 1 July 2020; the deadline for communication to the deliberative body of the necessary information for drawing up the budget being 15 July 2020; abolition of minimum time limits between request for budgetary information and the vote on the initial budget, and abolition of any deadline relating to the transmission of the draft budget prior to its examination).
- In the event that the 2020 local budget was not adopted by the local deliberative body, specific limitations relating to multiannual envelopes shall not apply to regional authorities (commitment and programme authorisations up to one-third) referred to in Article L.4311-6 of the CGCT.
- For the financial year 2020, the ceiling for budgetary adjustments for already existing unforeseen expenditure is raised to 15% of the estimated expenditure of each section and this expenditure, in the investment section, can be financed by borrowings.
Amendments for all local authority and EPCI's deliberating bodies of the rules relating to (i) quorum, (ii) convening meetings, (iii) prior referral to committees, (iii) meetings by video or audioconference, (iv) voting and transmission of acts for legal review for the period from 12 March 2020 until 10 July 2020 inclusive, or in certain cases until the end of the state of public health emergency (Ordinance No. 2020-391 of 1 April 2020).
Adjustment of the timetable for the adoption of deliberations on local tax matters (Ordinance No. 2020-330 of 25 March 2020)
ADJUSTMENTS AFFECTING THE OPERATION OF PUBLIC ESTABLISHMENTS AND COLLEGIAL ADMINISTRATIVE INSTANCES DURING THE STATE OF PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY (Ordinance No. 2020-347 of 27 March 2020)
Use of dematerialized meetings or videoconferencing for the adoption of deliberations of the following institutions [applicable from 12 March 2020 until the end of the state of public health emergency, plus one month] :
- all public establishment, regardless of their status;
- the Banque de France;
- public interest groups (groupements d'intérêt public);
- independent administrative authorities (autorités administratives indépendantes) and independent public authorities (autorités publiques indépendantes);
- private bodies entrusted with a public administrative service mission;
- commissions and other administrative collegiate bodies tasked with adopting opinions or decisions. This is aimed in particular at social dialogue bodies such as technical committees (comités techniques), health, safety and working conditions committees (comités d’hygiène, de sécurité et des conditions de travail), as well as committees reviewing housing allocations set up by low-rent housing bodies (organismes d'habitations à loyer modéré) (provided for in Article L. 441-2 of the Construction and Housing Code).
Delegations of power from legislative organs to the executive branches in order to adopt urgent measures [applicable until 15 July inclusive]:
This concerns any public establishment, public interest groups, social security body or any organisation responsible for the management of a public administrative service. However, this does not apply to the power, by independent administrative authorities or independent public authorities, to impose sanctions as this cannot be delegated.
Extension of the office term of any member of an administrative collegiate body or authority whose term expires during the period running from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020 inclusive. The extension of office term is until 30 June 2020 at the latest or, where an election must take place, until 31 October 2020.
 Except in municipalities where the municipal council was elected in its entirety in the 1st round of the electron of municipal and community councillors held on 15 March 2020 and in the public establishments for municipal cooperation with own taxation mentioned in VI of article 19 of the emergency law of 23 March 2020 to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic, for which this mechanism is applicable from 12 March until the date of entry into office of the municipal and community coucillors elected in the 1st round.
 For the provisions of Articles 1, 3, 7 and 8 of ORdinance No. 2020-391.
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