While the Covid-19 indicators turn red, the National Assembly must vote on Thursday at the end of the day on the tools in the hands of the government for the coming months, from restaurant closings to travel restrictions, in the extension of ‘a controversial diet.
To “protect the French”, “we need this text”, even if it limits public freedoms, pleaded the Minister of Health Olivier Véran in the hemicycle at the start of the debates.
It must hold its weekly update on the epidemic at 6:00 p.m., with a status quo looming in the measures taken for large metropolises, the time to assess their effectiveness.
“We are going to have to make decisions that are sometimes adapted territorially, transparent,” warned Emmanuel Macron for the future. And this, by relying on the tools of the regime of exit from the state of health emergency, a transitional regime in force since July and which should be extended until the end of March.
Entered into force on March 24, this then newly created state of emergency, which allows certain public freedoms to be restricted, was maintained until July 10.
Shortly before this date, Parliament gave the green light to a bill organizing the exit from this regime, subject to a series of restrictions still possible: on the movement of people, reception of the public in certain establishments or even gatherings. .
These restrictions were then expected to end at the end of October. Alas, faced with the acceleration of contaminations, the government imposed since Monday and for two weeks in eleven cities including Paris and Lyon the closure of sports halls and bars at 10 p.m., and a total closure of bars and restaurants in Aix- Marseille and Guadeloupe.
These latter areas are on “maximum alert”, the last level before the reestablishment of the state of health emergency.
Affected economic sectors are on alert, and local elected officials are stiffening. Thus the bill under study “does not arouse general enthusiasm”, euphemized Mr. Véran, calling for “courage” and “responsibility”.
“The virus does not care much for controversies, sensitivities and moods”, slipped the minister.
– “Too far” –
The text of two articles, the subject of a hundred amendments, should be adopted without the voices of the right and the left, as in July.
“We share the concern of our fellow citizens and the government” in the health crisis, but “the proposed text goes too far and for too long” with these six months of extension, said Philippe Gosselin, defending on behalf of LR a motion of prior rejection of a text whose stake is “freedoms”.
He notes that the period includes the departmental and regional elections in March and is concerned about the upcoming campaign.
Same prejudices on the left: the rebels consider the transitional regime “not necessary”. The Communists warn against a “risk of habituation” to the “exorbitant powers which it gives to the executive and the administrative power”. The Socialists will seek to reduce this extension over time.
The Defender of Rights, Claire Hédon, also warned against the risk of “disproportionate infringement” of rights and freedoms.
On several benches, deputies refuse to give a “blank check” to the executive and call for reinforced parliamentary control.
On the side of the majority, some plead for easing. Sacha Houlié (LREM) had an amendment adopted unanimously in committee which would increase the number of spectators in the stadiums according to the local health situation and the total number of seats offered. And elected officials who support the discotheque sector, closed since March, will be mobilized on Thursday.
After the vote of the National Assembly, it will quickly be the turn of the Senate, particularly scrupulous about freedoms, to examine the extension text.
A new bill on the subject is already emerging by January. The government is in fact working on a “long-term health emergency management system”, instead of these “intermediate meetings for the extension of transitional measures” before Parliament.