The National Assembly must resume this Thursday the bill extending the health pass, after the first often electrical exchanges until late Wednesday
Another 900 amendments, oppositions that do not let go, a majority crossed by questions … The examination of the bill extending the health pass is not a long quiet river on the benches of the National Assembly. “Let us move forward, please”, pleaded repeatedly the Minister of Health Olivier Véran, while the bill requires an express adoption by the end of the weekend in the face of pressure from the Delta variant of Covid-19.
Of the thousand amendments tabled, only a hundred were considered on Wednesday evening. The agenda has been changed to resume debate all day Thursday, delaying the shuttle to the Senate. Between invective and reminders of the rules, the only modification validated Wednesday evening was to specify that the health pass for international travel will only be requested over 12 years.
The virus “will not wait”
In a well supplied hemicycle, the oppositions blew hot and cold, some asking to go further in the restrictions on movement in particular, when others wanted to loosen the noose. Strongly contested by a section of public opinion, the bill reflects the announcements of July 12 by Emmanuel Macron, of the vaccination obligation for caregivers with a health pass (proving complete vaccination, a recent negative test or immunization ) for access to cafes, restaurants and trains from the beginning of August.
Amendments to delete the first key article were rejected, as were narrowly proposals – from all sides – to reduce the extension of the exit regime from the health emergency and thus allow a new meeting in Parliament. . The oppositions castigated “appalling conditions (examination) for a sensitive text”. “Take your time, the virus will not wait for him,” said LREM reporter Jean-Pierre Pont ironically.
“I do not like the health pass tool” but “to govern is to choose” and “that is courage in politics, it is not to make debates last”, tackled Olivier Véran, under accusations of lack of doses or contradictions on barrier gestures. But the questions also came from the majority. “Today the messages are misguided and many do not understand anything any more”, reported Christophe Blanchet (MoDem), in reference to the idea that the pass could bring down the mask.
The “country that stands firm”
The temperature rose during interventions by Martine Wonner, the elected covidosceptic who had urged the demonstrators against the health pass on Saturday in Paris to “make the seat of parliamentarians”. Parades took place again Wednesday in several cities, including in Paris near the Palais Bourbon. At the opening, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran had targeted anti-vaccines with ferocity, while Covid-19 contaminations reached 21,000 in the last 24 hours.
“The sheep are not those that we believe”, declared the minister who paid homage to the “country which holds good”, to the majority of French people who “do not shout”. In committee last night, the deputies have already postponed the health pass for 12-17 year olds to the end of September. The government had already exempted this age category until August 30. The vaccination obligation extended to caregivers, firefighters or even professionals working with the elderly is widely supported, except for the extreme right and the extreme left.
“Circumscribe” the pass
It is on the extension of the sanitary pass that right and left have reserved their banderillas. The CNIL has just asked the Parliament to “define” the new device. LR deputies are calling for “flexibility”, with reduced fines and an exemption for those who have received a first dose of vaccine – proposal rejected, Olivier Véran indicating that a single dose leads to a risk reduction of only 30%.
The Socialists reject the pass and prefer a “compulsory vaccination” of adults against Covid “by October 1”. During the meeting, Marine Le Pen (RN) joked about the government’s promises two months ago which, “on all counts, had said that it would not extend the health pass to daily activities”. Communists and rebels are moving towards a global vote against the bill, rejecting “attacks” on individual freedoms. On the majority side, most of the initial reservations about the past have been swept away by the presidential announcements and the government’s demining.