At least on the legal level, nothing is already opposed to the reconstruction of Notre Dame. Another thing is the still very slow arrival of funds or, Three months after the fire that destroyed a good part of the Gothic cathedral in Paris, the lack of consensus – and of plans – on how to restore its former splendor. In any case, France already has a law developed exclusively to regulate "the work of the century", as defined by a legislator, to restore the emblematic Parisian temple. The regulations, approved on Tuesday by the National Assembly definitively, seek to make possible the order given by the president, Emmanuel Macron, after the catastrophe of April 15: rebuild Notre Dame in five years.
The "Law for the conservation and restoration of the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral" It was approved by 91 votes in favor, 8 against and 33 abstentions, a reflection of criticism from opposition deputies who, among others, questioned the ability of the Government to make some decisions on its reconstruction by decree. They also protested the "haste" to approve the text. A rapidity that the critics attribute to the intention of Macron that Notre Dame can begin to receive tourists again, even if only partially, in five years, that is, in coincidence with the celebration of the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024. The Minister of Culture, Franck Riester, nevertheless rejected these allegations and stated that the law was necessary to be "up to the task" of the multimillion-dollar donations.
"We had no other option, we had to live up to the generosity impulse for Notre Dame ", Riester argued before the vote. "You had to go very fast to create a framework to receive donations, encourage them and guarantee hundreds of thousands of donors that their money will not end up anywhere other than Notre Dame. That is the only meaning of the law, "he said and promised that the restoration of Notre Dame will be" exemplary. "
The bulk of the nine items that make up had already been advanced in the past months. The regulations confirm the "national subscription" opened on April 16, a day after the fire that destroyed the roof of the cathedral, sank its arrow and caused serious damage to the vault and the central nave of the temple, to raise funds for its reconstruction. It also stipulates, as promised, that all the money collected will be "exclusively destined" for the financing of the recovery works of the temple or, in any case, for the training of professionals who have the "particular skills" that require a historical work of this kind. The law also stipulates that small donors will enjoy, until next December 31, an exceptional tax deduction 75% for donations of up to one thousand euros (normally 66%).
In view of the large amount of funds that will be managed – the promises of donations exceed 850 million euros, although To date, the amount actually delivered does not reach 10% of that figure– The new law also approves the creation of an exceptional control committee beyond the bodies traditionally responsible for ensuring the accounts. The new committee will be composed of the first president of the Court of Auditors and the chairmen of the Finance and Culture committees of the two chambers of Parliament, and must publish annually a report detailing how much money has been collected, its origin and how it is being employee.
"It guarantees the transparency of the use of funds before donors. He tells them, 'you will not be betrayed, your donations will go well to Notre Dame,' "the Minister of Culture underlined during the final debate.
The law of Notre Dame also provides for the creation of a "public institution of an administrative nature" that will be under the tutelage of the Minister of Culture, Franck Riester, and whose mission will be "to guarantee the coordination and conduct of studies and operations that lead to conservation and restoration of the cathedral ".
Sample of how difficult it will be, with law or without law, the pending task is the fact that, three months after the fire, the works to ensure the cathedral have not finished yet nor do they seem likely to do so. "The protection phase will last for many months," the director of the Notre-Dame Foundation, Christophe Rousselot, told France2. The square in front of the facade is still closed to the public, despite the fact that it was expected to reopen in mid-June, coinciding with the two months since the catastrophe, which was commemorated with the celebration of the first mass in the cathedral, with about thirty participants who had to put on a construction helmet during the entire ceremony. "The hardest is still ahead," Riester confirmed to the deputies.
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