French parliament’s law committee approves Covid-19 passports for large gatherings, as MPs raise concerns over ‘discrimination’.
Covid-19 ‘Health Passes’
The Law Committee of the National Assembly, the lower house of France’s parliament, has approved a bill on health passes that citizens will be required to carry in order to attend gatherings of more than 1,000 people. According to the government’s plan, the pass will serve as proof that a person has been vaccinated, has tested negative for Covid-19, or has recovered from the virus.
Health Minister Olivier Veran said the measure is directed against superspreading events, and the draft “excludes any use of the health pass in daily life activities.” The idea of setting up a digital certificate for vaccination and Covid-19 testing status was previously approved by the National Committee for Scientific Research, a key government advisory body.
The concept of health passes raised some concerns among lawmakers, including President Emmanuel Macron’s allies. “It resembles discrimination, it’s a precedent for me,” Pacome Rupin, a lawmaker from Macron’s LaREM party said.
MP from The Republicans party Philippe Gosselin said the bill did not draw a distinction between outdoor and indoor gatherings, while Democratic Movement MP Philippe Latombe argued that the bill’s text was too vague.
Eric Coquerel from the left-wing LFI party argued that there “will be no limit to discrimination” when the bill comes to pass.
Speaking to “Le Parisien” newspaper last week, Emmanuel Macron promised that health passes “will never be a right of access that differentiates the French.” He said people should not be mandated to carry such passes when visiting friends and “places of everyday life,” like restaurants and cinemas. The passes will be required for crowded areas, like stadiums, festivals, fairs and exhibitions, he said.