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In the Senate, the right and left opposed the privatization project of Aéroports de Paris – Le Monde

Can the state, should he sell his shares of the group Aéroports de Paris (ADP)? To this sensitive question the senators responded in a rare union between right and left "no" on Tuesday 5 February in the evening. During the first reading of the legislative proposal (Action Plan for Growth and Transformation of Enterprises), the senate adopted 246 votes in favor and 78 amendments to delete section 44 amending the ADP legal regime and paving the way for privatization. He also opposed the privatization project of Française des Jeux (FDJ).

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Privatizations of the FDJ and ADP: many obstacles to overcome

"Aéroports de Paris is a government company, a monopoly that works well, makes a profit, invests (…). It is a strategic company that works, keeps it, has argued during the session Roger Karoutchi (The Republicans), who addressed the government.

The chairman of the socialist group, Patrick Kanner, has detailed: "First of all, you want to save the dried up state suitcases, but it's a shot, and instead of selling a smaller check and putting it in the pocket, we advocate keeping these thriving businesses open for profit."

SI make a mark right and left "The choice together to refuse this privatization (…)we will have to hear the voice of the senate "Communist Fabien Gay summarized.

Also read the stand: "The political decision to privatize Aéroports de Paris must be the subject of a major debate"

Concession for seventy years

The state has up to now been obliged to retain the majority of the shares of the ADP group. The bill would, if it were adopted, make it possible to sell all or part of the assets that it owns in the airport group private – or 50.63% of the shares, which amounts to about $ 9.5 billion. . The privatization of ADP would take the form of a concession for seventy years.

Read also Privatizations: what is the state (still) owner?

"This operation is not a dry privatization"emphasized Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire, who joked about the right-left union on the subject. The debate "Prove one thing, he taunts, it is that the French political reconsideration still offers us many surprises ".

In the Government's plan, the proceeds from the sale of ADP assets, as well as some of those held by the State in the French and Engie, must be invested in government bonds and bring in 250 million euros. euro per year, which will be used to finance innovative projects.

"Is it Vinci who wants to buy the shares?"

In the debate, senators remembered the precedent of motorways and accused the government of giving ADP to Vinci. "After the financial disaster of the privatization of motorways, you propose to privatize very sensitive assets", proclaimed Socialist warlord Bourquin. ADP "It is the door of France to the world", "You have to keep it public"he insisted, slipping: "If Vinci did not have one [l’aéroport de] Notre-Dame-des-Landes, that is no reason to give him a present. "

"Is it Vinci who wants to buy the shares?asked Senator Fabien Gay. Vinci is compensated since the minority shareholder, then there is compensation for Notre-Dame-des-Landes. The parliamentarians that we are, the employees of ADP have the right to know if it is with compensation for public money that we will sell the 50% of the airports in Paris. "

The president and CEO of Vinci himself responded Wednesday morning. In the 2000s, Xavier Huillard said about the purchase of motorway concessions "New delirium caused by the privatization of ADP" : "Everyone goes with his little couplet and [dit] absolutely nothing. "

"I have too much respect for the Senate" to comment directly on the vote, said mr. Huillard following the presentation of the group's annual results. However, he responded to criticisms that were passed on by elected officials about the strong rise in franchise revenues on the motorway, putting them in perspective due to the limited duration of concessions.

The meeting has the last word

Republican allies in the Senate majority, the centrists voted against the amendments to delete the article. They hoped that their colleagues from one "Political attitude" to change the text in the direction of a larger one "Transparency" and a better one "Regulation". Bruno Le Maire insisted on voting on the role that the Senate could have "In strengthening regulation", recalling several times that he was prepared to accept changes to this effect.

However, the Senate's vote does not mean the end of the process: the last word comes back to the National Assembly, which adopted this article at first reading.

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