Olympic Games, bullies, vaccines: This week in France’s parliament

We look at the key topics due to be discussed in the Assemblée nationale

Our round-up of key points politicians will be discussing this week in France
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Discussions include the organisation of the 2024 Olympic Games, proposed laws to increase the production of vaccines, preventing bullying in schools and France’s military withdrawal from Mali.

Here is a round-up of the key points MPs will be examining in the Assemblée nationale (National Assembly) this week.

Monday, February 21

  • MPs will discuss a bill aiming to make it easier for people to choose which surname they wish to use.

This comes after thecommission paritaire mixte, a commission of seven senators and seven MPs whose mission is to review bills passed by both houses, disagreed on its first reading of the proposed law.

Although French people have officially been allowed to choose between their father or mother’s name since 2003, eight out of ten children still have their father’s name, the proposals (by Patrick Vignal, LREM) state.

The proposed bill aims to simplify the administrative procedures involved in changing a name, asking people only to fill a form and deliver it to their mairie instead of providing a ‘legitimate reason’ for the change, as is currently the case.

The procedure will be accessible to people over 18, who will be able to use it once in their lifetime. Parental consent for children over 13 would be required. The law would be enacted on July 1, 2022.

Tuesday, February 22

  • The government is to begin its public session with an official declaration about France’s military presence in Sahel, a region of northern Africa which stretches between the Sahara in the north and Sudan in the south.

This follows President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to withdraw the 5,000 French troops which were deployed in Mali in 2013 to fight groups including al-Qaeda and Islamic State as part of Operation Serval.

In 2014, Operation Serval was terminated having successfully regained the northern half of the country. It was replaced by Operation Barkhane, which aimed to expand on the gains already made.

Although initially welcomed, French troops have become increasingly unpopular in Mali over the years, as the number of terror attacks has risen and some Malians have begun to see the intervention of their former coloniser as an occupation.

The withdrawal will take between four and six months.

  • MPs of the Social Affairs commission will hear an account from Camille Colnat, one of Orpea’s former directors, and nurse manager Laurent Garcia, amid reports of the mistreatment of elderly people in nursing homes run by the Orpea group, a European leader in the sector.

Read more: Inquiries open after claims of food rationing at care homes in France

Wednesday, February 23

  • MPs will hear from Jacqueline Gourault, the current Minister of Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local Authorities, who was recently recommended by President Emmanuel Macron to be appointed at the Conseil constitutionnel (Constitutional Council), France’s highest constitutional authority.

Mr Macron and the presidents of both parliamentary chambers have each proposed a single candidate to join the Conseil constitutionnel.

The role of the Conseil constitutionnel is to ensure that the law respects the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.

The president of the Assemblée nationale Richard Ferrand has proposed the head of the justice ministry cabinet Véronique Malbec and Senate president Gérard Larcher has put forward the head of the Senate cabinet, François Seners.

Ms Malbec will appear before the Assemblée nationale later in the day.

  • MPs will listen to an address by Pierre Moscovici, the president of the Cour des comptes (Court of Audit) following the publication of its annual report.

This year’s report highlighted weaknesses of some administrations and public companies when dealing with the health crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cour de comptes has warned that the country will require “unprecedented effort” to redress public spendings after the huge spending associated with the Covid crisis.

Read more: France has ‘worst public finance situation’ in Eurozone due to Covid

  • MPs will hear about the organisation of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, most notably with regards to the Committee's social charter and its active design approach, through which regional authorities will work to promote sports activities in their facilities.

  • During the first public session, MPs will discuss a bill which aims to increase the number of vaccine doses produced by France in an effort to meet the World Health Organisation’s aim that 70% of the world population is fully vaccinated by next summer.

The bill hopes France would engage more intensely into Covax, a health policy which seeks to provide developing countries with improved vaccine access.

France has already donated 64 million doses, the bill states.

The proposed law would also promote friendly cooperation between France and other countries involving the sharing of technology and medical knowledge on vaccine production.

The bill was proposed by Jean François Mbaye (La République en Marche).

  • MPs will hear a bill calling for France to condemn the coup d’état which took place in Myanmar on February 1, 2022. The bill was proposed by Anne Genetet (LREM.)

Thursday, February 24

  • The government will start by making an official declaration on France’s current health situation.

  • Senators will discuss the final version of a proposed law aimed at preventing bullying in schools and workplaces, bringing in tougher punishments for offenders.

Bullies will be sentenced to up to three years in prison and a €45,000 fine if their actions led the victim to take up to eight days off work or school, and up to five years in prison and a €75,000 fine above eight days off work or school.

If the victim commits suicide or attempts suicide, the bully would face up to ten years of jail time and a €150,000 fine.

The proposed law also aims to include the fight against school bullying in the assigned goals of internet service providers.

The initial draft of this proposal was rejected by a mixed parliamentary commission after having been passed by both chambers. The proposed law was brought by a list of seven MPs from LREM, MoDem and other parties.

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