Coronavirus: The government wishes to extend the health emergency in France until June 1, 2021

Published by Laurent P., Caroline J., Rizhlaine F., Alexandre G., Manon C. · Photos by Alexandre G. · Published on 14 January 2021 at 11h45 · Updated on 14 January 2021 at 11h53
As the health emergency is extended to February 16, 2021, as passed this last November, the government has presented a bill extending the emergency to June 1 to the Ministerial Council, including transitional arrangement up to December 30. Some LREM and opposition parliamentarians wish to implement a closer review clause.

Health emergency extended for another year. As Le Monde confirms on Thursday Januayr 14, 2021, the government proposed during the Ministerial Council a bill to extend the health emergency to June 1, 2021 (instead of February 16th as passed several months ago), as well as the transitional arrangement also planned afterwards, moving to September 30, 2021 (instead of April 1). The bill will be subject to debate on January 20, 2021 at the National Assembly.

A major text for the government enabling it to implement never-seen-before and dramatic measures to curb the spread of Covid. It indefinitely delays another bill, "instating lasting sanitary emergency managing system" that has been removed from the agenda, jeopardizing months of works, and passed shortly before Christmas during a Ministerial Council. A bill that is expected to "adapt to all situation and exceptional health emergencies" as said by Libération.

For the record, this past November 3, 2020, MEPs were gathered at the National Assembly to vote for the extension of the health emergency in France. Not enough in the hemicycle, LREM MEPs have been beaten by the opposition. The latter passed – during a turbulent session – the extension of the health emergency up to December 14, 2020 and not to February 16, 2021 as the government first wished.

A vote tackled by Josiane Corneloup (LR) who explained that “the Holidays are a privileged moment” and “it is necessary to do everything to enable French to meet their families”. For the record, Olivier Véran said Christmas “will be either way” reminding the virus will still be around.

Other elected officials though February 16, 2021 was to far away. “Nobody agrees” with this deadline, Cécile Untermaier (PS) said to the AFP. It is out of the question for Pascal Brindeau (UDI) to “cover” the democratic life for such a long time.

Several LREM MEPs yet reminded why it was critical to extend the health emergency to February 16, including Jean-Pierre Pont who said this measure up to mid-February is “both necessary, fitted and proportionate” to the health situation. As the AFP underlines, the government enjoys several ways of getting back on these litigious votes before fully passing the law as scheduled on Friday November 6.

This Wednesday November 4, 2020, a new turnaround is announced: the National Assembly MEPs ultimately re-established the deadline for the extension of the health emergency to February 16, 2021.

In a release sent to the AFP and the press on Friday November 13, 2020, members of the Constitutional Council go along with the executive. "The Constitutional Council has assessed the legislator has - without being unaware of no constitutional requirement - extended the health emergency to February 16, 2021" they say. During debates at the Assembly and the Senate, nobody was hearing the same refrain.

For the record, the health emergency has been implemented already throughout the country. The head of state and the government passed on October 17, 2020 a measure reinstating this exceptional legal system allowing in case of a health danger (such as the current pandemic) to limit trips or implement mandatory lockdowns. But beyond a month, extending the system must be allowed by the law. Hence the vote for the new text at the National Assembly. Health emergency about to be extended again... for another year.

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