On May 12, 2021, the French National Assembly passed a bill approving the use of a COVID pass sanitaire or “health pass.” The pass, which would be in digital form or paper, would be required as of June 9 to prove an individual has either been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, recently tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 or has recovered from the virus as a prerequisite for attending certain sports and cultural events in France or leaving the country.1 2 3 4 5
The legislation, which was passed by the French Senate on May 18, includes language requiring the health pass to participate in events that draw more than 1,000 people. Reportedly, the pass sanitaire apparently would not apply to daily activities such as going to restaurants, movie theaters and museums, although Philippe Latombe, spokesperson for France’s centrist MODEM party, seems skeptical. According to Latombe,“There is a constitutional risk regarding the lack of clarity, a risk of appeals about gauges and the places included or not in the use of the pass.”1 5
“The health pass will allow us to reopen places welcoming the public, festivals and gatherings,” France’s Minister of Digital Affairs Cédric O said. “Without this health pass, we would have to wait much longer.” Prime Minister Jean Castex characterized the bill as “good news” because it means “we are moving towards the end” of restrictions.2
Health Pass: “Monstrous Apartheid Principle”
But despite passing by comfortable vote margins of 205-85 in the National Assembly and 221-102 in the Senate, the bill in France is controversial and has stirred up serious concerns on all sides of the political spectrum over the perceived violation of basic personal freedoms and the excessive degree of control it gives the government. National Assembly member Eric Coquerel of the leftist La France Insoumise party said:
We are told that this is a bill to manage the exit from this health crisis, but we have been given the most coercive control measure since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. They have opened Pandora’s box.1 5
Member of the European Parliament Florian Philippot of France’s right-wing Patriots party described the legislation as “monstrous apartheid principle.”1 He added:
Shame on the Senate for approving the health pass. The people will have to get rid of this tool of shame themselves.1
Health Passes Will Open Travel Within Europe
Implementation of the pass sanitaire is expected to coincide with the introduction of a COVID digital health pass or “green certificate” by the European Union (EU) in mid-June. “It will be ready for summer to facilitate safe travelling, so it will be ready to use by the end of June,” EU spokesperson Christian Wigand.8 9
The pass sanitaire will reportedly be recognized by all 27 EU member nations and can be used for travel within Europe beginning on June 17.10
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Click here to view References:
1 Morrow A. French Senate approves use of controversial Covid ‘health passes’. RFI May 19, 2021.
2 News Wires. French MPs back Macron’s Covid-19 ‘health pass’ despite discrimination fears. France 24 May 12, 2021.
3 Reuters. French lawmakers approve COVID ‘health pass’ at second attempt. May 12, 2021.
4 Smits J. Within hours, French National Assembly first rejects, then approves COVID health passport. LifeSite News May 13, 2021.
5 Thompson H. French MPs vote in favour of Covid health pass for use from June 9. The Connexion May 11, 2021.
6 Craig J. COVID-19: Michael Gove visits Israel to study country’s ‘green pass’ as he mulls vaccine passport options. Sky News Apr. 20, 2021.
7 Reuters. Green Pass: Israel’s Covid-19 vaccination certificate opens fast track to normal life. NBC News Feb. 21, 2021.
8 Burt C. Digital health passes going live in EU and UK; but for what?. BiometricUpdate.com May 12, 2021.
9 AFP. EU’s Covid health pass to be operational in June. France 24 May 10, 2021.
10 York J. French health pass can be used for EU travel from June 17. The Connexion May 19, 2021.