The bill that extends until July 31, 2022 the possible use of the health pass is presented on October 13, 2021 in the Council of Ministers, under fire from the opposition that challenge the decision to step forward of the presidential election.
Up to five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros
However, the text, which AFP was able to consult, was slightly modified after its approval in the Council of State to include the presentation by the government of a “report” to Parliament, providing an update on the measures taken. And “specifying the reasons for keeping some of them, if any.” This review must take place at least three months after the publication of the law, and “no later than February 28, 2022”, the end date of the parliamentary session. At the same time, the text presented this Wednesday toughens the penalties for fraud with the health pass, up to five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros. But it does not solve the thorny case of the articulation of this pass with the gradual deployment of the third dose of vaccines, for the moment reserved for the elderly or vulnerable.
A bill that grinds its teeth to the right and to the left.
Although the ebb of the Covid-19 epidemic continues in most of the territory, the executive intends to put an end to any reckless lawsuit in the event of a resurgence, extending the legality of the health pass, whose deadline was scheduled for November 15, until the middle of next summer. As for the current legal regime, which allows to locally limit the movements of people or close certain establishments in the event of a strong epidemic recovery, it is also extended from November 15 to July 31, 2022. This eight-month extension makes people shudder both on the right and on the left, because it evacuates the debate of the campaign and the elections that will mark the first half of 2022.
“This is not about giving a blank check until July 31, 2022, it must be under the control of Parliament,” Senate President Gérard Larcher demanded on October 12 on Franceinfo. “This means that, in February, we will have to discuss again the continuation of the emergency exit process,” he added. Asked about the BFMTV and RMC about the possibility of a debate of this type in February, the government spokesman Gabriel Attal stressed that there would be “a debate in parliament on the basis of the text voted in the Council of Ministers” in which “We propose the date of July 31”. “This does not mean that we extend the health pass until July 31,” but to say that the government “gives itself the possibility of using it,” he defended, calling for “vigilance” while “pointing” in certain departments (Lozère, Pays de la Loire) “seem to perhaps show a tremor” of the epidemic. He also assured that “as soon as we can lift it, we will.”
“Festival of demagoguery,” according to a close friend of the president
Received by videoconference on 12 October by Jean Castex, during a parliamentary liaison committee, deputies Jean-Christophe Lagarde (UDI and Independientes) and Sébastien Jumel (communist) expressed their opposition to such a delay without consulting Parliament. Same tone among the senators who wanted to say that “the debate” in the Luxembourg Palace “was going to be played at the place of control of Parliament”, according to a participant in the meeting. Having hesitated to introduce a review clause in Parliament in the first quarter of 2022, the majority calculated that “whatever we do the opponents will scream.” “And if we get closer to the elections, they will shout louder. For us it will be a bad time to pass but it is not very serious,” says a relative of the president. Olivier Becht, head of the Agir group, one of the components of the presidential majority, predicts “a festival of demagoguery” if Parliament returns “three weeks before the presidential elections.”
The executive, who has ruled out the mandatory nature of vaccination, has made the health pass an axis of his anti-Covid strategy, provoking demonstrations for more than three months that brought together some 40,000 people last Saturday. The pass was made mandatory on July 21 in places with capacity for more than 50 people before being introduced in hospitals (except emergencies), bars and restaurants, then it was extended on August 30 to 1.8 million employees in contact with the public. and at the end of September from 12 to 17. years of age. The end of free admission to certain “comfort” tests on October 15 constitutes a new stage in this strategy, by further encouraging vaccination. The bill also provides for the extension of the state of emergency in Guyana until December 31. And the Council of Ministers will also examine a decree that ends the state of health emergency in Reunion.
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