French MPs vote in favour of Covid health pass for use from June 9

The vote is the first step towards the introduction of a Covid health pass for access to large events and to help with foreign travel – but opponents claim it amounts to 'coercive control'

A woman holding a smart phone with Covid data on it. French MPs vote in favour of Covid health pass for use from June 9
If introduced, the health pass will likely be needed for access to large events and could help facilitate foreign travel
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The French parliament has approved plans for a Covid health pass that will facilitate foreign travel and be required for access to large events (those with more than 1,000 people, the prime minister has said) from June 9.

The health pass will show that the holder has had a negative Covid test in recent days, has a certificate of vaccination, or proof of having recovered to full health after a recent Covid infection.

Plans for a health pass were voted through in French parliament, the Assemblée nationale, on May 10. This is the first step on the road towards introducing the health pass by law.

‘Coercive control’

But opposition to the pass remains high, and it was the subject of long discussions in the chamber.

Eric Coquerel MP, of left-wing party La France Insoumise, 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.”

This sentiment was also echoed by MP Nicolas Dupont-Aignan.

Pierre Dharréville MP, from the communist party, denounced the measure as “a dangerous social control philosophy”.

Pacôme Rupin MP (LREM) and Philippe Latombe MP (MoDem), denounced the bill as “too long” and “not precise enough”, while other centre-right MPs also called for more “clarity on the criteria” of the pass use.

One of the major criticisms is that the law itself does not specify the 1,000-person threshold that Prime Minister Jean Castex referred to this week.

MP Jean-Pierre Pont, from LREM, said that this threshold was not specified to ensure that the law remains “flexible”.

‘Much longer’ to wait without it

Junior Digital Affairs Minister Cédric O defended the pass, saying: “The health pass will allow us to reopen establishments that welcome the public, such as festivals, and gathering places. If we didn’t have the health pass, we would have to wait much longer.”

Mr Pont said: “The tool is covered by enough guarantees, as it will not apply to daily activities [such as restaurants, cinemas or theatres]”.

The bill will now be examined in the Senate on May 18.

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