No official reply can now mean Yes

France is simplifying bureaucracy

New rule dictates that lack of response from administration will mean approval for 1200 procedures

FROM TODAY more than 1,200 administrative procedures will be simplified as an “overdue” response is now taken as an approval.

Reversing the 150-year-old “silence means rejection” rule is designed to simplify bureaucratic procedures for individuals and businesses, which should get quicker responses to the many administrative requests they need to have signed off.

The delay for the new rule to apply varies from 15 days and 15 months depending on the request but it applies to only 1,200 of 3,600 procedures listed with “silence means rejection” for the others.

* For individuals’ it relates to many different areas, for example moving a child to a school out of their local area, disabled parking cards, exceptional fishing permits, university applications, building renovations and works on a listed property.

* For those involved in local associations, mairies have just two months to refuse or tacitly approve temporary licences to sell alcohol at public events and authorise the organisation of traditional fairs.

* For businesses it applies to procedures including notifying the tax authorities of changes in distribution of capital, changes to apprenticeship contracts, ratification of a mutual dismissal at work and even changes to permitted working hours for an employee.

* It also speeds up the recognition of various professional qualifications, classification of tourist accommodation, renewal of authorisation to run driving schools and even a foreign artist’s right to a droit de suite fee on resale of their works if they have lived in France for more than five years.

This new rule is part of the choc de simplification plan introduced by President Hollande which is expected to save the state €11billion by 2017.

These measures will include allowing people to perform many more tasks online or by smartphone app, from applying for a passport and updating their Carte Vitale to making benefits calculations, paying fines, sending registered letters and arranging meetings with benefits agency CAF.

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