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Plastic, additives, conversion therapy: This week in French parliament

We look at what is due for discussion in both houses and other official information including President Macron’s agenda

This week MPs debate laws on topics including plastic, additives, conversion therapy and child protection Pic: Marlon Trottmann / Asvolas / Netrun78 / Lopolo / Shutterstock

Creating an offence for trying to change people’s gender identity or sexual orientation by ‘conversion therapies’, forbiding plastic polymers from sales and nitrate additives from several charcuterie products are among the subjects set for debate by the French parliament this week.

Here is a round-up of key points politicians will be looking at, and other important official dates for the week.

Assemblée nationale

Today Monday January 24

  • MPs will listen to three members of the mountain sector with regard to tourism and climate change. The hearings are intended to gather information, potentially to inform future laws. 

Tuesday January 25

  • MPs will discuss a proposed law on gender identity and sexual orientation.

The aim is to create an offence for attempting to force people to change their sexual or gender orientation through pressuring comments, practices or behaviours. Health professionals attempting so-called ‘conversion therapies’ are especially targeted.

Convicted individuals could face up to two years in prison and a €30,000 fine.

The proposal is being brought by by Laurence Vanceunebrock (LREM) and senator Dominique Vérien (Union centriste) 

  • MPs are to discuss a proposed law on child protection (by Michèle Peyron and Bénédicte Pételle (LREM) and senator Bernard Bonne (Les Républicains) aiming at increasing protections in everyday life including from domestic violence and prostitution.

The proposed bill would adapt laws for assistants familiaux (who look after young people in difficulty in the assistant’s own home) by increasing rest days and guaranteeing better financial and medical coverage from employers.

  • MPs will examine a proposed law aiming at forbidding sale of plastic polymers made with oil components by January 1, 2030 (by François-Michel Lambert, Libertés et territoires; centrist). 

Under the proposals, the government would enact a zero plastic polymers policy by January 1, 2023.

Wednesday January 26

  • MPs will examine a law (by Jean-Noël Barrot, Modem) to reintroduce postal voting. Postal voting was abolished in 1975 in France and has often been raised in debates over the last couple of years because of soaring voter absenteeism and people staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

  • MPs to examine a law aiming at forbidding the use of nitrate additives in several charcuterie products (by Richard Ramos, Modem), as studies show their presence among many products increases cancer risks.

Under the proposals, nitrate additives would be banned from a first list of products by January 1, 2023 and amounts permitted would be regulated for an extended list of other products by January 1, 2025. 

  • MPs will discuss a proposed law aiming to make it easier to choose which surname people wish to use (by Patrick Vignal, LREM). 

Although French people can officially choose between their father or mother’s name since 2003, eight out of ten children still have their father’s name, the proposals state.

Elysée Palace 

Today Monday January 24 and January 25

President Emmanuel Macron is visiting Creuse and neighbouring Haute-Vienne on Tuesday morning, among the most symbolic rural departments, as part of a tour suggestive of him being a campaigning candidate (although he has still not officially declared his candidature)

The president is expected to deliver speeches on key points such as education, health, public services, youth etc., according to French radio RTL. 

“Le président à la campagne…et en campagne” said several journalists, a play on the word campagne, which can mean both countryside and campaign.

Senate

Wednesday January 26

  • Senators will read a proposed law on adoption reform (by Monique Limon, LREM), which was listed as being discussed by MPs in last week’s round-up of the week ahead.

The proposed law, which has government support, aims to open adoption to couples in a civil partnership or other long-term couples, and reduce the eligibility age to 26. 

French law currently limits adoption to married couples either aged 28 or more or who have been married for two years, and single people aged 28 or more (civil partners and members of long-term couples have to adopt as individuals).

Thursday January 27

  • Senators will discuss a proposed law (by a list of seven MPs from LREM, Modem and others) aiming to prevent school bullying and bring in tougher punishments for school bullying offences.

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