Four hours of discussion torpedoed by a tweet? The Joint Joint Committee (CMP) on the bill establishing the vaccine pass finally ended in failure, this Thursday afternoon, between deputies and senators. The bill establishing the vaccination pass will have to leave for a shuttle between the Assembly and the Senate with a view to its final adoption, indicated, to the press, Yaël Braun-Pivet (LREM), president of the law commission of the Assembly.
If the discussions were difficult, a simple message would have broken the already fragile balance. While several details still remained to be settled, Bruno Retailleau, boss of LR senators, said in a tweet that the CMP had agreed with the Senate. “It’s the victory of common sense. The senators have obtained many clarifications and simplifications. The pass is intended to protect the French and nothing else… no offense to Emmanuel Macron”, rejoiced the chosen one on the right.
In the process, Christophe Castaner, head of the LREM group in the National Assembly, stepped up. The former Minister of the Interior got carried away on the social network. “The president of the Republicans group in the Senate is showing unacceptable contempt. The senators made a lot of concessions this afternoon, but the CMP continues. The attempt to politically recover our work is really not at the height of the health challenge”, he wrote. A few minutes later, the leader of the majority deputies acknowledged the failure: “We take note of our disagreement with the senatorial majority. It was out of the question to vote for a discount text. We will continue to examine the text at faster, with a clear objective: the protection of the French people.”
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Behind this skirmish on Twitter, hours of discussions seem to have been shattered. While things had started badly according to Public Senate , several senators and deputies tried to straighten the bar. Discussions resumed during the suspension, reports the parliamentary media. Finally, an “agreement in principle” was found at the end of the afternoon between rapporteurs. The agreement seemed close, despite the significantly different versions voted on at first reading by the Assembly a week ago, and by the Senate dominated by the right on the night of Wednesday to Thursday. “The changes proposed by the Senate had only one objective: to allow an agreement within the LRs”, according to the leader of the LREM deputies Christophe Castaner.
The Senate had significantly modified at first reading the bill transforming the health pass into a vaccination pass. Among the changes that the upper chamber had established: clause terminating the vaccination pass (imposed or maintained only when the number of hospitalizations linked to Covid-19 would be greater than 10 patients at the national level), maintenance of the health pass for minors or even the abolition of the possibility for owners of bars, cafes and restaurants to carry out identity checks to ensure consistency with the vaccination pass. The senators had also said no to sanctions in the event of non-compliance by companies with telework rules. “We want responsibility, but we also want proportionality,” said the leader of the LR senators on Wednesday.
Back to Assembly One thing is certain: the political saga will continue in a tense climate. “Your irresponsibility is in dispute with your inability to have a clear and common line on the vaccination pass. We will be there to take our responsibilities and continue to ensure the health protection of the French”, castigated the deputy LREM Aurore Bergé in a tweet addressed to Bruno Retailleau. The deputies must put the work back on the job from Thursday evening in committee, then Friday afternoon in the hemicycle. After a new reading in the upper house, it is the Assembly that will have the last word, possibly during the weekend or at the beginning of the week. Faced with the galloping epidemic of Covid-20, which even reached Thursday the Minister of Health Olivier Véran, the government hopes that the vaccination pass will come into force around 20 January, subject to any appeal to the Constitutional Council.
By Sylvain Fort