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France Regional Public Holidays Maintained

Source: Le Figaro (Paris)
Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013

France's Constitutional Court (le Conseil Constitutionnel) has rejected an attempt by the ruling Socialist Party to abrogate the "Concordat" which affords 2 additional non-working public holidays to 3 of France's administrative departments (Alsace and Moselle).

The 1801 Concordat, an agreement between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII, spelled-out the relations between Church and state in France, until a 1905 law on the separation of church and State in France abrogated it. However, from 1871 until 1919, the 3 departments of Alsace-Moselle were part of Germany, and as part of Germany, they were granted 2 additional public holidays (Good Friday and Saint Stephen's Day) in 1892. As part of the 1919 negotiations aiming to return Alsace-Moselle to French rule, the citizens of Alsace-Moselle insisted on keeping the Concordat and subsidiarily the 2 additional public holidays.

In 2011, during his presidential campaign, the current President of France, François Hollande, had threatened that he would abolish the Concordat. However, the immediate backlash in Alsace-Moselle made him back-off in early 2012. The attempt to abrogate the Concordat was thus relegated to a proxy fight using the "Association pour la promotion et l'expansion de la laïcité" association.

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