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French biz pushes back against controversial ‘Collomb circular’

The French concert industry is taking legal action to prevent plans by interior minister George Collomb to charge events for the cost of policing

By Jon Chapple on 26 Nov 2018

Malika Séguineau, Prodiss

image © Prodiss

French industry associations Prodiss and SMA have initiated legal action to annul the so-called ‘Collomb circular’ (circulaire Collomb), the controversial document that revealed plans to force live events to reimburse the government for the cost of policing.

The proposals, authored by interior minister Gerard Collomb, would see festivals billed for the cost of deploying police and gendarmes for anything other than terror-related incidents – an expense previously borne by the state.

The idea was met with incredulity across most of the industry: the Eurockéennes festival, for example, claimed the plans would see its security bill rise nearly 800%, from €30,000 to €254,000.

In protest, live music association Prodiss and the Syndicat des Musiques Actuelles (SMA), a music-industry trade union, have lodged an appeal with the French court of first instance, the Administrative Tribunal, seeking a reversal of Collomb’s proposals, which SMA claims would “endanger the sustainability of cultural events” by burdening them with “significant” new costs.

“Safety and security are a priority … but it is everyone’s business”

“This circular presented show organisers with a fait accompli,” according to a statement from Prodiss, “even as a consultation was in progress between the government and [event] professionals. None of the feedback from the professionals was taken into account in this decision.

“It is inconceivable that this decision was made without having previously measured the impact on the sector.”

The extra financial burden would be particularly acute as a result of the phasing out of the Emergency Fund for Live Entertainment, instituted following the Bataclan attacks in 2015, which expires at the end of this year, adds SMA.

“Safety and security are a priority; we owe it to our audiences,” comments Malika Séguineau (pictured), CEO of Prodiss. “But it is everyone’s business, and cannot be solely the responsibility of organisers of festivals and shows.”


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