privatization of highways
LexInter | October 23, 2006 | 0 Comments

PRIVATIZATION OF HIGHWAYS

ASSOCIATION FOR
THE DEFENSE OF USERS OF PUBLIC HIGHWAYS OF FRANCE

Seen 1), under n ° 290716, the request, registered on February 27, 2006 at the litigation secretariat of the Council of State, presented for Mr. François BAYROU and the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS DES AUTOROUES PUBLIQUES DE FRANCE, represented by its legal representatives; M. BAYROU and the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS DES AUTOROUES PUBLIQUES DE FRANCE ask the Council of State to cancel for excess of power decree n ° 2006-98 of 2 February 2006 authorizing the transfer to the private sector of the majority stake jointly held by the State and “Autoroutes de France” in the capital of the company Sanef and to charge the State a sum of 4,000 euros under the provisions of Article L. 761-1 of the Code of administrative justice;

Seen 2), under n ° 290718, the request, registered on February 27, 2006 at the litigation secretariat of the Council of State, presented for Mr. François BAYROU and the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS DES AUTOROUES PUBLIQUES DE FRANCE, represented by its legal representatives; M. BAYROU and the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS DES AUTOROUES PUBLIQUES DE FRANCE ask the Council of State to cancel for excess of power decree n ° 2006-167 of February 16, 2006 authorizing the transfer to the private sector of the majority stake jointly owned by the State and “Autoroutes de France” in the capital of the company “Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône” (APRR) and to charge the State a sum of 4,000 euros under the provisions of the Article L. 761-1 of the code of administrative justice;

Seen 3), under n ° 291137, the request, registered on March 9, 2006 at the litigation secretariat of the Council of State, presented for Mr. François BAYROU and the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS DES AUTOROUES PUBLIQUES DE FRANCE, represented by its legal representatives; M. BAYROU and the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS DES AUTOROUES PUBLIQUES DE FRANCE ask the Council of State to cancel for excess of power decree n ° 2006-267 of March 8, 2006 authorizing the transfer to the private sector of the majority stake jointly owned by the State and “Autoroutes de France” (ADF) in the capital of the company “Autoroutes du Sud de la France” (ASF) and to charge the State a sum of 4,000 euros for provisions of article L. 761-1 of the code of administrative justice;

Seen 4 °), under the n ° 293046, the request, registered on May 3, 2006 at the litigation secretariat of the Council of State, presented by Mr. Jean-Pierre ZURYK; Mr. ZURYK asks the Council of State to annul for excess of power decree n ° 2006-267 of March 8, 2006 authorizing the transfer to the private sector of the majority stake held jointly by the State and “Autoroutes de France” in capital of the company “Autoroutes du Sud de la France” (ASF) and to charge the State a sum of 50 euros under the provisions of article L. 761-1 of the administrative justice code;

Seen 5 °), under the n ° 293276, the summary request and the amplifying memory, registered on May 10 and June 14, 2006, presented for the ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF THE USERS AND THE SAFEGUARD OF THE MOTORWAY HERITAGE, represented by its legal representatives; the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS ET DE SAUVEGARDE DU PATRIMOINE AUTOROUTIER (ADUSPA) asks the Council of State to cancel for excess of power decree n ° 2006-267 of 8 March 2006 authorizing the transfer to the private sector of the majority stake jointly owned by the State and “Autoroutes de France” in the capital of the company “Autoroutes du Sud de la France” (ASF) and to charge the State a sum of 4,000 euros under the provisions of the Article L. 761-1 of the code of administrative justice;

Having regard to the other documents in the files;

Having regard to the Constitution, in particular its Preamble;

Considering the highway code;

Having regard to the labor code;

Considering the law n ° 82-1152 of December 30th, 1982, in particular its article 29;

Considering the amended law n ° 86-793 of July 2, 1986, together with the decision of the Constitutional Council n ° 86-207 DC of June 25 and 26, 1986;

Considering the law n ° 86-912 of August 6, 1986 modified;

Considering the decree n ° 86-1140 of October 24, 1986 modified;

Considering the decree n ° 87-971 of December 3, 1987;

Considering the decree n ° 98-315 of April 27, 1998, together the decision of the Constitutional Council n ° 98-182 L of March 6, 1998;

Considering the code of administrative justice;

After hearing in public session:

– the report of Mr. Edouard Crépey, Master of Requests,

– the observations of SCP Lyon-Caen, Fabiani, Thiriez, lawyer for M. BAYROU and the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS DES AUTOROUES PUBLIQUES DE FRANCE, SCP Célice, Blancpain, Soltner, lawyer for the company “Autoroutes Paris Rhin Rhône “, from Me Gaschignard, lawyer for the ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF USERS AND FOR THE SAFEGUARD OF MOTORWAY HERITAGE,

– the conclusions of Mr. Emmanuel Glaser, Government Commissioner;

Considering that the requests registered under the numbers 290716, 290718, 291137, 293046 and 293276 present related questions to be judged; that it is necessary to join them to rule there by a single decision;

Considering that Mr. ZURYK has an interest, as shareholder of the company “Autoroutes Paris Rhin Rhône”, in the annulment of the decree attacked by Mr. BAYROU and others under the n ° 290718; that thus the intervention which he presented in support of this request is admissible;

Without it being necessary to rule on the objections of inadmissibility opposed by the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry and the company “Autoroutes du Sud de la France”:

Considering, in the first place, that Mr. BAYROU and others, Mr. ZURYK and the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS ET DE SAUVEGARDE DU PATRIMOINE AUTOROUTIER maintain that by authorizing by the decrees of February 2, 2006, February 16, 2006 and 8 March 2006 the transfer to the private sector of the ownership of the majority stakes held by the State and the public establishment “Autoroutes de France” in the “Société des autoroutes du Nord et de l’Est de la France” (Sanef), the the company “Autoroutes Paris Rhin Rhône” (APRR) and the company “Autoroutes du Sud de la France” (ASF), the Prime Minister overstepped the limits of his jurisdiction and vitiated his decisions with an abuse of procedure;

Considering that under the terms of article 7 of the law of July 2, 1986 as amended: “I. – Are approved by law the transfers to the private sector of the property: / – companies of which the State directly holds more than the half of the share capital and whose workforce, increased by those of the subsidiaries in which they hold, directly or indirectly, more than half of the share capital, exceeds one thousand people at December 31 of the year preceding the transfer or whose number consolidated business with that of the subsidiaries, as they have just been defined, exceeds 150 million euros on the closing date of the financial year preceding the transfer; / – companies that have entered the sector public in application of a legislative provision. / II. – The operations having the effect of carrying out a transfer from the public sector to the private sector of ownership of companies other than those mentioned in paragraph I above are subject to the approval of the administrative authority (…) “;

Considering, on the one hand, that it emerges from the documents in the file that the State alone held respectively, on the eve of the disputed privatizations, only 37.83%, 35.11% and 41.53% of the share capital of the companies Sanef, APRR and ASF , of which it is common ground that each exceeded the workforce and turnover thresholds mentioned in the aforementioned provisions; that the applicants however argue that, taking into account the holdings held by the public establishment “Autoroutes de France”, which would lack any real consistency, it actually controlled 75.7%, 70.2% and 50.4%, so that the disputed transfers should have been submitted for legislative approval; that, however, the existence of said establishment is not the result of a simple government decision, but of article 29 of the amending finance law for 1982, the provisions of which are now included in articles L. 122-7 et seq. of the road road network code; that, among the twenty members of its board of directors, only nine represent, by virtue of Article R. 122-18 of the said code, the State services alongside, in particular, two parliamentarians and six representatives local authorities; that if the missions of the establishment have, since its creation, changed in nature, it effectively exercises the role of shareholder of mixed economy companies concessionaires of motorways given to it by the second paragraph of article R. 122- 17 of the aforementioned code; that if Mr. BAYROU and others maintain that the decree of December 3, 1987, from which it comes, is tainted with incompetence to have, in disregard of article 34 of the Constitution, modified the constitutive rules of this public establishment, which alone constituted a category, by adding to its initial mission of equalizing the resources of said companies that of providing them with own funds, such This argument is, in any event, irrelevant to the reality of the activity carried out by the establishment as such and, therefore, to the assessment to be made as to the direct or indirect nature of the detention by the State , disputed participations; that moreover, this new mission must be regarded, for the application of Article 34 of the Constitution, as a mission similar to that with which the establishment was initially invested; that the governing bodies of the latter have approved the transfer of its holdings in Sanef, APRR and ASF and requested the Prime Minister for the administrative authorization to which it was subordinate; that the circumstance that, to optimize the conditions of said cession, he entrusted the State with an exclusive negotiation mandate for any act of disposal in no way establishes the fictitious nature of the establishment; that it has its own budget and accounts; that thus, and whatever the assessments which may be made, from the point of view of good administrative management, on the advisability of maintaining an autonomous existence, the public establishment “Autoroutes de France” is not without of any consistency and therefore does not present the character of a fictitious organism; that therefore the applicants are not justified in maintaining that the State should, for the application of the aforementioned provisions of article 7 of the law of July 2, 1986 as amended, be regarded as holding more than half of the share capital of the companies of which the contested decrees authorized privatization; that as a following, the means incompetence can not be accepted;

Considering, on the other hand, that it emerges from the documents in the file that the State has never been the direct holder of more than half of the share capital of the companies Sanef, APRR and ASF; that it has moreover become shareholder only in 1994, that is to say six years after the public establishment “Autoroutes de France” had taken its first participations there; that thus, the means of misappropriation of procedure must be rejected;

Considering, in the second place, that the Preamble of the Constitution of 1946, to which the Preamble of the Constitution of 1958 refers, provides in its ninth paragraph that “any property, any enterprise the operation of which has or acquires the characteristics of a service national public or a de facto monopoly, must become the property of the community “; that article 20 of the law of August 6, 1986 modified recalls consequently, in its second paragraph, that the operations of transfer which it governs cannot relate to the companies aimed by these provisions; that the operation of an enterprise can only have the character of a national public service or of a de facto monopoly within the meaning of these texts if it is carried out at the national level; that in this case, none of the companies in question, responsible for the construction and operation of motorway networks in accordance with the regime provided for in Article L. 122-4 of the Highway Road Code, has not been granted a concession, at the national level, for the set of highways; that it does not follow from any principle, from any rule of constitutional value, or from any law that the operation of motorway concessions should be set up as a national public service; that as a following, the ASSOCIATION OF DEFENSE OF USERS AND SAFEGUARD OF MOTORWAY HERITAGE is not founded to maintain that the Prime Minister has, by the contested decrees, ignored the scope of the aforementioned provisions; for all highways; that it does not follow from any principle, from any rule of constitutional value, or from any law that the operation of motorway concessions should be set up as a national public service; that as a following, the ASSOCIATION OF DEFENSE OF USERS AND SAFEGUARD OF MOTORWAY HERITAGE is not founded to maintain that the Prime Minister has, by the contested decrees, ignored the scope of the aforementioned provisions; for all highways; that it does not follow from any principle, from any rule of constitutional value, or from any law that the operation of motorway concessions should be set up as a national public service; that as a following, the ASSOCIATION OF DEFENSE OF THE USERS AND OF SAFEGUARD OF THE MOTORWAY HERITAGE is not founded to maintain that the Prime Minister has, by the contested decrees, ignored the scope of the aforementioned provisions;

Considering, thirdly, that it emerges from the documents in the file that, contrary to what the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS ET DE SAUVEGARDE DU PATRIMOINE AUTOROUTIER maintains, the works council of ASF has ruled, the January 19, 2006, on the objectives of privatization and its repercussions on the legal, economic and social organization of the company; that thus, the plea alleging that by authorizing, by the decree of March 8, 2006, the transfer to the private sector of the holdings of the State and of the Autoroutes de France, the Prime Minister disregarded the scope of the provisions of Article L. 432-1 of the labor code is in fact missing;

500 people or turnover 375 million euros (…), the authorization can only be granted after the assent of the Privatization Commission. In this case, the value mentioned in the preceding paragraph is that fixed by the Commission for privatization “; that by the effect of the decree of April 27, 1998, this commission took the name of Commission of participations and transfers;

Considering that it emerges from the documents in the file that the update report sent to the Participation and Transfers Commission, after the latter had issued a first opinion which lapsed for lack of intervention of the decision within the period of thirty days provided for in article 3 of the amended law of 6 August 1986, was drawn up by independent experts appointed by the cedants; that, contrary to what the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS ET DE SAUVEGARDE DU PATRIMOINE AUTOROUTIER maintains, it is without disregarding the scope of the aforementioned provisions of article 20 of the law of 6 August 1986 as amended that articles 5 and 6 of the decree of October 24, 1986, taken for their application, prohibited that the experts find themselves in a situation which could alter their independence with regard to the buyers only, and not to the assignors;

Considering that the circumstance that the first opinion of the Commission of participations and transfers was not made public has no impact on the legality of the decree taken on the basis of the second opinion;

Considering that, based primarily on the analysis of stock market prices and that of the discounted cash and dividend flows likely to be generated by the companies affected by the disputed transactions, the Committee on Participations and Transfers has set the minimum value of the securities to be sold at 47 euros per share for Sanef, 51 euros for APRR and 47 euros for ASF, which leads to an assessment of all the holdings held by the State and the public establishment “Autoroutes de France “to around 12.8 billion euros; that Mr. BAYROU and other and Mr. ZURYK argue that it has, in doing so, committed an error of appreciation in the choice of the discount rate to be retained; that they avail themselves, in this regard, of a report from the General Planning Commission of 21 January 2005 recommending that they refer,

But whereas it emerges from the documents in the file that the discount rate of 4% thus proposed assumes constant prices and the absence of any risk; that the aforementioned report indeed recommended not to take into account the risk by a uniform increase of the general discount rate, but to assess it on a case-by-case basis; in the present case, if the construction of the motorway network is, it is true, nearing completion, if, for the time being, the motorway traffic is hardly declining and if the concessionary companies have cleared, in 2005 and in the first months of 2006, significant profits, the amount of their revenues is nonetheless likely to be affected, in the future, by the uncertainties weighing on the evolution of fuel prices, economic growth, user behavior, competition offered by other modes of transport or the regulatory framework; that it emerges from the report submitted to the Committee on Participations and Transfers by the State Advisory Banks and the public establishment “Autoroutes de France” that the real risk-free rate of 4% corresponds to a risky nominal rate of 8.6% with a risk premium calculated according to the “financial asset valuation model”, to which the report of the General Planning Commission expressly refers and of which the applicants do not dispute either the principle or the application in the present case; The application of such a rate would have resulted in the contested holdings being valued at a level lower than that fixed by the Commission; that if, moreover, the applicants argue, by referring in particular to press articles, that the buyers of said holdings have indicated that they have carried out a transaction that is advantageous for them, such declarations, which are part of financial communication strategies, are not such as to establish the Commission’s underestimation of the minimum value transferred interests; that the circumstance, invoked by Mr. ZURYK, that only one offer had been filed for the takeover of the shares of the State and of “Autoroutes de France” in the company ASF is, in itself, without impact on the assessment of the Participation and Transfer Committee, which was responsible for setting the minimum transfer value regardless of the content of the applications; that, moreover, the minimum value retained is greater than both the past stock market price, even increased by a premium linked to the announcement of the privatization, than to most of the estimates produced, by application of various methods, by the evaluating bank acting within the framework of the price guarantee procedure initiated, after the sale disputed, by the purchaser after authorization from the Autorité des marchés financiers; that thus, the means can not be accepted;

Considering finally that, contrary to what the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS ET DE SAUVEGARDE DU PATRIMOINE AUTOROUTIER maintains, it is clear from the very terms of the second opinion issued by the Participation and Transfers Commission on each of the disputed transactions that it held taking into account the new elements that have arisen after it had given its first opinion, and in particular the evolution of stock market prices and the publication of the results for the last financial year; that it thus committed neither error of law nor error of appreciation;

Considering that it follows from all the foregoing, and without there being any need to grant the request for the production of various documents, presented by the ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF USERS AND FOR THE SAFEGUARD OF MOTORWAY HERITAGE, that this last, Mr. BAYROU and the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS DES AUTOROUES PUBLIQUES DE France, and Mr. ZURYK are not justified in requesting the annulment of the decrees of February 2, February 16 and March 8, 2006; that the conclusions they present on the basis of Article L. 761-1 code administrative justice under the costs incurred by them and not included in the costs must, consequently, be rejected;

 DECIDES:

article 1st  : The intervention presented by Mr. ZURYK in support of the request n ° 290718 is allowed.

Article 2  : The requests of Mr. BAYROU and others, of Mr. ZURYK and of the ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF USERS AND THE SAFEGUARD OF MOTORWAY HERITAGE are rejected.

Article 3  : This decision will be notified to Mr. François BAYROU, to the ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF USERS OF PUBLIC HIGHWAYS OF FRANCE, to Mr. Jean ‑ Pierre ZURYK, to the ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF USERS AND FOR THE SAFEGUARD OF AUTOROUTIER HERITAGE , to the public establishment “Autoroutes de France”, to the “Société des autoroutes du Nord et de l’Est de la France”, to the company “Autoroutes du Sud de la France”, to the company “Autoroutes Paris Rhin Rhône “, to the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry and to the Prime Minister.


Order of the judge of March 13, 2006
N ° 291118
M. François BAYROU and ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF USERS OF PUBLIC HIGHWAYS OF FRANCE

Considering the request, registered on March 8, 2006 at the litigation secretariat of the Council of State, presented for Mr. François BAYROU and for the ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF USERS OF PUBLIC HIGHWAYS OF France; Mr. BAYROU and the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS DES AUTOROUES PUBLIQUES DE FRANCE ask the judge of the Conseil d’Etat, on the basis of Article L. 521-2 of the Code of Administrative Justice, to order the Minister of the economy, finance and industry to postpone the execution of the decree to intervene for the privatization of the Autoroutes du Sud de la France company for fifteen days or at least until the intervention of the summary judge of the Council State ruling on the request for suspension of this decree;

they maintain that the right to an effective remedy has the character of a fundamental freedom; that the immediate execution of the decree authorizing the cession of the participation of the State and of Autoroutes de France in the capital of the society of Autoroutes du sud de la France would prevent the exercise of such recourse against this decree; that having regard to the imminence of the publication of the decree in question, the condition of urgency is fulfilled;


Having regard to the other documents in the file;

Having regard to the European convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms;

Considering article 1 of the civil code;

Considering the code of administrative justice;


Considering that article L. 521-2 of the code of administrative justice subordinates the exercise by the judge of summary proceedings of the powers which he attributes to him on the condition that an administrative authority has carried, in the exercise of one of its powers, a serious and manifestly illegal interference with a fundamental freedom; that Article L. 522-3 of this code provides that the summary judge may, by a reasoned order, reject a request without instruction or hearing when it appears obvious, in view of the request, that it is ill-founded ;

Considering that the possibility of exercising an effective remedy before a judge has the character of a fundamental freedom; that, however, if the immediate execution of a decree, which entered into force upon its publication under the conditions defined in Article 1 of the Civil Code, may exhaust the effects of this decree and thus render moot a request for its suspension, the action for annulment constitutes an effective remedy against such a decree; that, consequently, no serious and manifestly illegal interference with a fundamental freedom does not arise from the contingency invoked by the applicants; that their request that the judge in summary proceedings of the Council of State make use of the powers conferred on him by article L. 521-2 of the code of administrative justice to order the government to defer the


ORDERS:

Article 1 : The request of Mr. François BAYROU and the ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF USERS OF PUBLIC HIGHWAYS OF FRANCE is rejected.

Article 2 : This ordinance will be notified to Mr. François BAYROU and to the ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF USERS OF PUBLIC HIGHWAYS OF FRANCE.

A copy will be sent for information to the Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry and to the Prime Minister.


Order of the judge of March 13, 2006
N ° 291138
M. François BAYROU and ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF USERS OF PUBLIC HIGHWAYS OF FRANCE

Considering the request, registered on March 9, 2006 at the litigation secretariat of the Council of State, presented for Mr. François BAYROU and THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF USERS OF PUBLIC HIGHWAYS OF FRANCE; Mr. BAYROU and the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS DES AUTOROUES PUBLIQUES DE FRANCE ask the judge of the Conseil d’Etat, on the basis of article L. 521-1 of the administrative justice code:

1 °) to order the suspension of the execution of decree n ° 2006-267 dated March 8, 2006 authorizing the transfer to the private sector of the majority stake held jointly by the State and Autoroutes de France in the capital of the Company Motorways of the South of France (ASF);

2 °) to charge the State for the payment of the sum of 4000 euros under Article L. 761-1 of the Code of Administrative Justice;


they maintain that the effects of the contested decision have consequences difficult to reverse and that, consequently, the condition of urgency is met; that there is a serious doubt on the legality of the contested decree; that indeed, the public administrative establishment Autoroutes de France is a transparent dismemberment of the State, deprived of administrative and financial autonomy; whereas it is therefore appropriate to add the participation held by Autoroutes de France in society ASF to that held directly by the State; that, consequently, is crossed the threshold of 50% mentioned in article 7-I of the law of July 2, 1986; that only a law could, consequently, authorize the transfer of the participations of the State; that in addition, the methods of

Considering the decree whose suspension is requested;

Considering the copy of the request for cancellation presented against this decree;

Having regard to the other documents in the file;

Having regard to the Constitution;

Having regard to the European convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms;

Considering article 1 of the civil code;

Considering the law n ° 55-435 of April 18, 1955 relating to the statute of the highways;

Considering the law n ° 86-793 of July 2, 1986 authorizing the Government to take various measures of an economic and social nature, modified by the laws n ° 88-2 of July 4, 1988 and n ° 96-314 of April 12, 1996;

Considering the law n ° 86-912 of August 6, 1986 modified relating to the modalities of the privatizations;

Having regard to the minutes of the public hearing held on March 9, 2006 in cases n ° 290 717 and n ° 290 719;

Considering the code of administrative justice;

Considering that by virtue of article L. 521-1 of the administrative justice code, the summary judge may order the suspension of an administrative decision when the urgency justifies it and that a plea is reported able to create, in the state of the investigation, a serious doubt on the legality of this decision; that having regard to their object, the powers thus conferred on the judge of summary proceedings can be exercised only insofar as the decision whose suspension is requested has not produced all its effects;

Considering that Mr. BAYROU and the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS DES AUTOROUES PUBLIQUES DE FRANCE request the suspension of the decree of March 8, 2006 which authorizes the transfer to the private sector of the majority stake held jointly by the State and by the public establishment Autoroutes de France in the capital of the Société des Autoroutes du Sud de la France (ASF);

Considering that the disputed decree was published in the Official Journal of March 9, 2006 and that its article 2 provided, under the conditions defined by article 1 of the civil code, its immediate entry into force; that it results both from the written instruction and from the debates during the public hearing held on March 9, 2006 for the examination of requests n ° 290 717 and n ° 290 719, which raised similar questions, and ‘occasion of which the parties discussed the present case, that, as of March 9, 2006, all of the securities held by the State and by Autoroutes de France were sold and that the purchaser sent an irrevocable order a transfer corresponding to the price of these securities on the accounts of the State and Autoroutes de France; that the transfer authorized by the decree whose suspension is requested has thus been fully executed; that, even if this decree is the preliminary to other stages of the operation of privatization which it authorizes, it consequently produced the totality of the effects which attach to its provisions; that the request tending to the suspension of this decree, introduced on March 9, 2006, therefore became devoid of object and that there is, consequently, no need to rule thereon;

Considering that the remedy for abuse of power brought by the applicants also ensures them an effective remedy against the contested decree; that the Council of State will rule on this appeal in principle within a period of less than six months;

Considering that there is no need, in the circumstances of the case, to apply the provisions of Article L. 761-1 of the Code of Administrative Justice and to charge the State with the sums requested by Mr BAYROU and by the ASSOCIATION DE DEFENSE DES USAGERS DES AUTOROUES PUBLIQUES DE FRANCE for the costs incurred and not included in the costs;

ORDERS:

Article 1 : There is no need to rule on the request of Mr. François BAYROU and the ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF USERS OF PUBLIC HIGHWAYS OF FRANCE.

Article 2 : The conclusions of Mr. BAYROU and of the ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF USERS OF PUBLIC HIGHWAYS OF FRANCE tending to the application of article L. 761-1 of the code of administrative justice are rejected.

Article 3 : This ordinance will be notified to Mr. François BAYROU and to the ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF USERS OF PUBLIC HIGHWAYS OF FRANCE.

A copy will be sent for information to the Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry and to the Prime Minister.

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