French association law has changed in an attempt to track and trace radicalisation so the CNEF organised study days where people could come together with various experts to get advice o what we need to do. The Bordeaux day took place in the church in Eysines. It's one of the to-uter suburbs of Bordeaux but tram D goes from our flat to within a 15 minute walk of the church so I didn't bother reserving a car. Thankfully the weather was very pleasant and I listened to various podcasts on the way.
The day was made up of one plenary session where after the usual speeches of welcome and appreciation and how's your father the CNEF's legal expert explained the background ad the aims of the law. Then we had workshops.
Our first workshop was with the same lawyer, explaining the new procedures for declaring your association to the prefecture - a declaration that you will now have to do every five years including your accounts for the last three years. This is to stop money-laundering through religious fake shop-fronts as well as to monitor sponsoring of religious groups by potentially hostile states.
Then accounting. Well I don't understand the jargon in the first place so I was with the little group who at the end said "well that was all Chinese to me". But basically we have a list of three things to put in the accounts we declare to the prefecture - our balance sheet, our profit and loss sheet and the explanatory notes that go with it. At least I think that's what we mean by Blin, Compte des Résultats and Annexe.
The last workshop was with a charming lady, also a lawyer, who explained the ins and outs - mostly outs - of what you can and cannot do - mostly cannot - with a 1905 association like a church.
So we came away with a list of things to do and a warning not to do them yet - to wait perhaps until the autumn because just as we have to get ready to observe the law, so the prefectures also have to get ready to apply the law, and it's just as hard for them as it is for us.
Meanwhile we had fun at lunchtime eating our picnics together with new friends from Sarlat, from Bergerac and from Biscarosse.