Thursday

23rd Nov 2017

French constitution experts approve burqa ban

  • The French burqa ban has been criticised by civil libertarians (Photo: Shemer)

A public ban on the Burqa, the Islamic full-face veil, will go into place early next year in France after constitutional experts on Thursday (8 October) approved the move.

The Conseil Constitutionnel, the guardian of the country's constitution, ruled that the law banning the wearing of the face-covering veil in public places passed by both chambers of the French parliament does not impinge on civil liberties.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The council had widely been expected to overturn the law. However, it passed it almost in its entirety, stipulating only that the law should not apply to public places of worship, where it may violate religious freedom.

"The ban on covering the face in public places cannot constrain the practice of religious freedom in places of worship that are open to the public," the council said in its judgement, noting that it "conforms" with the constitution.

Expected to come into force about a half a year from now, the law provides for a six-month period to explain to a women wearing such a veil that they face a fine or arrest. If they continue to wear it, they will be fined €150 or must take a course in citizenship.

Anyone forcing a woman to wear the veil could be fined €30,000 and one year in jail.

The text of the law does not make explicit reference to Islam or the Islamic veil but was widely promoted by French politicians, including president Nicolas Sarkozy, as a way of protecting women's rights.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon in a statement called it "an important decision to affirm the values of the republic with respect for freedom of conscience and religion."

Critics of the law, however, say that the French government is creating a problem where none exists. Only around 2000 of the country's Muslim women wear a full veil out of a total population up to 2 million Muslim women.

The judgement comes at a sensitive for France. It has been widely criticised for its policy of expelling Roma after publicly linking immigration and crime. In addition, the country is at the centre of recent warnings by the US and the UK on the risk of a terrorist attack by Islamist groups in the run-up to Christmas. The law has been criticised on Islamic fundamentalist websites.

France may not be the only country to take this route however. Belgium's lower house of parliament approved a ban on the burqa in April, while the new governing coalition in the Netherlands will attempt the same move in return for the support of far-right politician Geert Wilders for the minority government.

Meanwhile, MPs from the anti-immigration Northern League, part of Italy's ruling right-wing coalition, Thursday proposed a bill suggesting that burqas be banned in Italy as well.

Mali blames West for chaos in Libya

Mali's foreign minister Abdoulaye Diop told the EU in Brussels that the lack of vision and planning following the Nato-led bombing campaign in Libya helped trigger the current migration and security crisis.

Commission warns Italy over high debt level

The Italian government must demonstrate it is making an effort, or the EU will consider launching a procedure. France and Romania are also under scrutiny.

Mladic found guilty for Bosnia genocide and war crimes

The former Bosnian Serb warlord was sentenced to life in prison for committing genocide and war crimes in Srebrenica and Sarajevo. Mladic is still regarded as a 'hero' among some Bosnian Serbs, in a country undergoing resurgent nationalism.

Mali blames West for chaos in Libya

Mali's foreign minister Abdoulaye Diop told the EU in Brussels that the lack of vision and planning following the Nato-led bombing campaign in Libya helped trigger the current migration and security crisis.

News in Brief

  1. December euro summit still on, Tusk confirms
  2. EU calls for end to Kenya election crisis
  3. Report: Israeli PM invited to meet EU ministers
  4. French banks close Le Pen accounts
  5. Commission relaxes rules on labelling free range eggs
  6. Commission issues €34m fine over car equipment cartel
  7. Estonian presidency 'delighted' with emissions trading vote
  8. Mladic found guilty of genocide and war crimes

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  2. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  3. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  4. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  6. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  7. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  8. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!
  9. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  10. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children
  11. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  12. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure

Latest News

  1. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  2. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'
  3. Commission warns Italy over high debt level
  4. Mladic found guilty for Bosnia genocide and war crimes
  5. Uber may face fines in EU for keeping data breach secret
  6. EU counter-propaganda 'harms' relations, Russia says
  7. The EU's half-hearted Ostpolitik
  8. Glyphosate: 1.3 million EU citizens call for ban