Home > State support > France > 2013-06-28 - Council of State, n. 359110

2013-06-28 - Council of State, n. 359110

State support · France · Faith-Based Organisation · Subsidies

A religious congregation can receive subsidies for environmental purpose

Key facts of the case - The Benedictine community of Saint Benoît d’En Calcat (applicant) had applied for a subsidy before the Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME). The community aimed at funding the carrying out of a feasibility study related to the planed setting of a wood burning furnace in the abbey premises. The ADEME is a public State establishment of an industrial and commercial nature in charge of several kinds of missions related to environmental policies: providing information, research project management, service provision. To reach those objectives, the agency is entitled to grant subsidies, according to the interest of the project to be funded.
Since the ADEME rejected the Benedictine community’s application, the community lodged an appeal with the administrative judge to annul this decision.

Main reasoning of the court - According to the Council of State, the Agency can legally grant subsidies to a religious community provided that are aimed at non religious activities and that these activities meet the condition of being of general interest.
In the case at hand, funding heating systems based on renewable energy falls within the missions of the ADEME. Hence, the religious community is entitled to ask for the annulment of the refusal of the ADEME.