Friday, January 28

Vaccine pass in France: after three agitated days, the deputies validate the bill

After three days of tumultuous debates, fueled by controversial remarks by Emmanuel Macron, ready to “piss off” the unvaccinated, the National Assembly adopted this Thursday in the early morning at first reading the bill transforming the health pass into vaccine pass.

Announced in mid-December by the executive in the face of the rampant Covid-19 epidemic, the text was approved at 5:25 am by 214 votes in favor, those of the majority and part of the LR and the PS. They were 93 deputies to vote against, including the left of the left, the RN, and 3 LREM dissidents. Twenty-seven abstained.

The bill must now be considered by the right-wing Senate early next week, for an entry into force that the government wanted on January 15 but which should be postponed by a few days.

Those over 12 will then need to be able to prove their vaccination status to access leisure activities, restaurants and bars, fairs or interregional public transport. A negative test will no longer suffice, except for access to health establishments and services.

Among their retouching amendments, the deputies postponed from 12 to 16 years the need for a vaccination pass for school trips and peri and extracurricular activities.

Contentious controls

The last night of discussions progressed chuggingly, with some outbursts of voices on the health pass in meetings or the situation overseas.

The milestone of article 1 (out of 3) was not crossed until 3 am. “We are tired, deputies must return to the constituency”, let go of an elected official in the corridors, while the Minister of Health Olivier Véran said he was ready to “chain” the session with morning meetings.

Until the end of the night, the parliamentarians exchanged on the merits, the oppositions targeting in particular the identity checks that can operate cafetiers or restaurateurs in the event of “serious reasons” to think that there is fraud against the vaccination pass. Martine Wonner, muse of covidosceptics, said he feared “a denouncing society “.

The LR deputies, who were finally divided on the overall vote on the bill (28 for, 24 against, 22 abstentions), announced that they would seize the Constitutional Council on this point of checks.

Prime Minister Jean Castex himself came Wednesday afternoon to ask parliamentarians to speed up, after the blockage, or even according to LFI the “crisis”, caused by the words of Emmanuel Macron.

“The unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off”

“The unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off. And so we will continue to do it, until the end. That’s the strategy,” proclaimed the head of state in an interview with the Parisian Tuesday. “When my freedom threatens that of others, I become irresponsible. An irresponsible person is no longer a citizen,” he added.

Summoned to explain himself, Jean Castex first confirmed before the Senate his desire to put pressure on the unvaccinated. “Who insults the nation? (…) Who leads caregivers in our emergencies to make dramatic ethical choices? Well, it’s a tiny minority”, he argued.

Then at the Palais Bourbon, the Prime Minister urged the deputies to “to debate quickly”, taking into account the health situation.

“Excuse you” from “unworthy words” of the President, he had been summoned by the patroness of the Insubordinates in the Assembly, Mathilde Panot. Leader of the LR MPs Damien Abad had criticized a “cold and calculating populism” on the part of the head of state.

About 53% of French people said they were “shocked” by Emmanuel Macron’s words, and 47% “not shocked”, according to an Elabe poll published Wednesday evening.

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