Paris (AFP)

The Secularism Observatory, criticized by certain politicians who accused it of not doing enough against Islamism, will be replaced in the next few days by an "interministerial committee of secularism", announced Friday Matignon.

"The decree establishing the interministerial committee", which must be published in the next few days, "will repeal (...) the one creating the Observatory", which had been set up in 2013, Matignon told the press .

Its purpose will be to "coordinate the action of the government in order to ensure the respect and the promotion of the principle of secularism by all the public administrations", he specified in a press release.

This as soon as the bill consolidating the principles of the Republic will have been definitively adopted by Parliament, in principle by the summer recess.

This bill provides for "an obligation of training in the requirements of the principle of secularism for all public officials" and "the creation of secular referents in all administrations", among others.

The new body, "placed under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister", will bring together the ministries concerned (Interior, National Education, Civil Service).

It will take over the missions, in particular administrative and advisory, of the Observatory of secularism.

A "secretariat" will be placed under the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior, the form of which will be specified in particular during the first meeting of this committee, on 12 July.

The Observatory of Secularism, chaired by the former Socialist Minister Jean-Louis Bianco until last April, was again accused of complacency towards Islamism after the assassination of Professor Samuel Paty last October and then during the examination in Parliament of the bill to combat separatism.

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