After being passed by the French Council of State, the draft law that will extend the use of the “health passport” until July 31, 2022 will now be submitted to the Council of Ministers. In addition to the extension, the draft also provides for more stringent penalties for cases of fraud.
According to the French news agency AFPthe text was slightly modified after its adoption by the State Council. It now stipulates that the government must submit a “report” to Parliament, in which it reports on the status of the measures taken and, if necessary, explains the reasons for maintaining some of these measures. Previously, the opposition, left and right, had asked for more say.
In the future, the penalties for the fraudulent use of the “health passport” are to be increased to up to five years imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros. The current legal regulation was also extended from November 15, 2021 to July 31, 2022. It enables the government to restrict the freedom of movement of local people or close certain facilities in the event of a severe recurrence of COVID diseases.
Government finds resistance “not that bad”
The extension of this authority caused loud criticism within the opposition. Quite a few fear a distraction from the election campaign and the elections in the first half of 2022. Senate President Gérard Larcher told the news channel on October 12 France Info:
“It’s not about writing a blank check by July 31, 2022, it has to be under Parliament’s control.”
MEPs Jean-Christophe Lagarde (UDI and Independent) and Sébastien Jumel (Communists) spoke out on Tuesday via video conference with Prime Minister Jean Castex as part of a parliamentary liaison committee against such an extension period without consulting Parliament. Since the government is hesitant to introduce a revision clause into parliament in the first quarter of 2022, the executive is expecting sharp criticism from the ranks of the opposition. AFP quotes an unnamed source who is said to be close to Macron, with the words:
“And the closer we get to the election, the louder they’ll scream. It’s going to be a tough moment for us, but it’s not very bad.”
The French government had previously ruled out compulsory vaccinations, but made the “health passport” a central part of its corona policy. She had provoked demonstrations that had been going on for more than three months. Last Saturday around 40,000 people took part again. The “ID” became mandatory on July 21, 2021 in facilities that can accommodate more than 50 people. It was then also introduced in hospitals (except in emergencies), bars and restaurants.
On August 30, 2021, it was finally expanded to include the 1.8 million employees who work in the areas of leisure, culture, gastronomy, long-distance transport or trade. Since the end of September, the “health passport” has also been used for 12 to 17 year olds. The end of the free trials on October 15th is another measure to put even more pressure on unvaccinated people.
more on the subject – Corona crisis in France: Four million people are slipping into precariousness