France: Commentator criticises Macron’s vaccine passport plans
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The French President submitted legislation to parliament which will stop people entering restaurants and bars without a “health pass”, showing they are vaccinated, have had a recent negative test, or have immunity from COVID-19. Opponents say the state is, de facto, forcing people to get jabbed.
The new rule has attracted criticism from politicians across all parties in France and abroad.
Last weekend, police estimated that 100,000 people joined protests against the measures – some of them under the banner of the Yellow Vests. And another round of protests is planned for this weekend.
Former Senator Yves Pozzo di Borgo said President Macron is the “worst President of the Fifth Republic”.
He added: “He leaves a weakened, indebted and fractured France, but thinks only of his re-election.”
National Rally’s Julien Odoul echoed: “Absolute shame. The brutal and unapologetic definition of macronism.”
Les Patriotes leader Florian Philippot urged French residents to gather in Paris this Saturday.
He wrote: “Well, given the feedback, it’s going to be phenomenal on Saturday at Trocadéro!
“People are going to demonstrate for the first time in their lives! Everyone come! Freedom!”
Francois Asselineau, leader of the UPR, also registered his support.
He tweeted: “I will demonstrate Saturday July 24, 2021 in Paris, all French people must demonstrate for freedom and the demonstration must be apolitical!”
Generation Frexit leader Charles-Henri Gallois, who will be speaking at the protest, told Express.co.uk: “I was not opposed to the political measures against COVID-19 when we had not the vaccination weapon, even if some measures were clearly useless and inconsistent.
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“Now that we have the vaccination roll-out quite advanced and we have seen in UK or Israel that even if the cases are up, hospital beds are not overwhelmed and there are not so many deaths, it should allow us to live normal life.
“In that context, Macron’s health pass rules are totally inappropriate and freedom-destructing laws.
“Let’s think that it will be asked to take a train, to go to the hospital, a restaurant or a bar. We talk about daily life activities.
“From what I have seen, there are only two countries with a such extensive health pass: Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Two dictatorships.
“In fact, it’s a compulsory vaccination because if you don’t do it, you will be second-class citizen.
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“Even China does not have a compulsory vaccination for COVID-19.
“Let’s be clear, I’m definitely in favour of vaccination but you should have people vaccinating by persuasion and showing the effectiveness of vaccines. Not by constraining people.
“That is also the difference between democracies and dictatorships. I will fight this health pass with all my heart in France.”
Outside of France, Italian MEP Susanna Ceccardi urged the EU Commission to stop member states from issuing “discriminatory” guidances against Covid.
Earlier this week, she said: “The green pass is not a discriminatory weapon against European citizens.
“Macron’s proposal to make it mandatory to enter bars, restaurants, cinemas, goes beyond the scope of the digital certificate adopted throughout Europe from 1 July for tourist and commercial travel.
“I presented an urgent question to the European Commission: there is a risk that the adoption of measures such as the one announced by Paris would damage the freedoms of citizens and would be in contrast, also in terms of individual privacy, with what was established by the EU institutions themselves.
“These measures could slow down the already difficult economic recovery and there is a risk that other countries will also follow the direction of France.
“The Commission should intervene to bring the Member States back to a reasonable use of the certificate, or to use it only to facilitate cross-border transit.”
Italy on Thursday followed in the footsteps of France, announcing that proof of vaccination or immunity would shortly be mandatory for an array of activities, including indoor dining and entering places such as gyms, pools, museums and cinemas.
Greece made a vaccination certificate mandatory for anyone to be allowed into indoor restaurants and bars from last week, while dozens of Portuguese municipalities introduced weekend curbs for inside dining in early July.
“The Delta variant is even more of a threat than the other variants,” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told reporters, defending his decision to make the so-called Green Pass obligatory to participate in much of public life.
“The Green Pass is not arbitrary, but a necessary condition not to shut down the economy. Without vaccinations, everything will have to close again,” Mr Draghi said.
The daily number of new coronavirus infections recorded in Italy has doubled over the past week, hitting 5,057 on Thursday, while in neighbouring France, daily cases have rocketed to almost 22,000 from 10,908 on July 16.
Unlike in past COVID waves, deaths and hospitalisations have not progressed in lockstep with rising cases, thanks to mass vaccinations since the start of the year.
But with under 54 percent of adults fully inoculated in the European Union, governments fear there will still be tens of thousands more victims unless they speed up vaccinations.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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