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    the Senate wants to impose a “review clause”

    Europe 1 with AFP
    10:49 am, October 28, 2021, modified at

    10:49 am, October 28, 2021

    No blank check until the summer: the Senate dominated by the right-wing opposition is preparing to introduce on Thursday a “review clause” in the bill including the health pass, which would require the government to come back to front Parliament before the end of February. Presented by the government as a “toolbox”, the text aims to extend beyond November 15 the possibility of using the health pass and a whole battery of measures to curb the Covid-19 epidemic, in the context of ” a post-crisis diet until July 31, 2022.

    Adopted in first reading last week in the National Assembly after heated debates, the text arrives Thursday in the chamber of the Senate for which, underlines its president LR Gérard Larcher, “there is no question of giving a blank check until July 31, 2022, it must be under the control of Parliament “.

    Health pass: “three and a half months is fine, eight and a half months is too much”

    The senators largely rewrote the text in committee and adopted the proposal of rapporteur Philippe Bas (LR) to extend the provisions until February 28 only. It is up to the government to return to Parliament to continue beyond, if the health situation so requires. The rapporteur considers that “three and a half months is fine, eight and a half months is too much”.

    A state of mind generally shared by senators. “The government, we are told, is going to ‘step over the presidential elections and we will go back to Parliament’. No. We are giving the government a certain number of powers over our freedoms, we want control of Parliament,” said the leader of the senators LR Bruno Retailleau. “It is a marker of the Senate”, adds the president of the centrist group Hervé Marseille, who underlines the unknowns of the post-election period: “which president? Which ministers? Which majority?”. On the left, the boss of the PS senators Patrick Kanner also criticizes the executive “for its logic of concentration of power”.

    Olivier Véran believes he does not have “sufficient perspective at this stage”

    On the other hand, the question of the sanitary pass is debated. The rapporteur proposes that it can no longer be used in the departments which will have, by November 15, more than 75% of their population vaccinated (ie roughly 90% of those over 12). This proposal “was felt in a nuanced way by the senatorial majority”, according to Hervé Marseille. The majority have affirmed “anti-pass” in its ranks, such as the centrist Loïc Hervé.

    “Where we are well protected, do not apply disproportionate constraints”, defended Philippe Bas Thursday on Public Senate, also pleading for an application of the pass “a little variable geometry” in the departments where it would be maintained: mandatory at the entrance of cafes and restaurants, “not useful” in cinemas, theaters and concerts “where you can keep the mask”. “We must start to consider the conditions to get out”, agrees Bruno Retailleau. On the left, the Socialists will propose to go further, believing that the health pass “no longer has any reason to exist in metropolitan France”, according to Marie-Pierre de La Gontrie.

    The Minister of Health Olivier Véran believes he does not have “sufficient hindsight at this stage” to “deprive himself of a tool which is functional, which is very well accepted by people”. “Which does not mean that we want to maintain it over time,” he told senators on Tuesday. “The question is not to know what such and such thinks, but today we are totally in control of the virus. The answer is no”, tackled Christophe Castaner, the boss of deputies En Marche, on Wednesday.

    Like everywhere in Europe, the Covid epidemic is rebounding in France

    As everywhere in Europe, the epidemic is experiencing a rebound in France at the start of the cold season. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal confirmed Wednesday “a slight but sensitive recovery”, with 5,400 cases detected per day on average, but estimated that France can hope for “a relatively calm winter” thanks to its vaccination rate.

    The Senate should also remove the controversial provision introduced by amendment to the National Assembly and allowing school directors to know the vaccination status of students.

    Once the text has been voted in the Senate, with its modifications, deputies and senators will try to agree on a common version in a joint committee. In case of failure, the National Assembly will have the last word.


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