The president of the LR group in the National Assembly, Damien Abad, believes that the bill extending the state of health emergency, presented Wednesday in session, threatens public freedoms.
Will Republicans vote to extend the state of health emergency?
The first version presented by the government does not satisfy us. Extending the state of emergency for another two months until July 24 is excessive from the point of view of public freedoms. The right has proposed to extend it between June 24 and July 10, which seems reasonable to take stock of the situation before the summer and allow Parliament to exercise control over government action.
Is this a purely formal criticism, nothing substantive?
Yes! The other sensitive point is section 6 of the bill, which for us violates public freedoms. It acts the creation of an information file, by agents of the health insurance who will make “contact tracing”, that is to say identify the people who have been in contact with patients of Covid- 19. We are no longer talking about digital applications here, but about people in the administration who will contact people individually. They will collect medical data, without anonymity and by lifting medical confidentiality. The storage period of the data collected, fixed at one year, also poses a problem for us.
Is one year too much?
This should not go beyond the state of emergency. Safeguards are needed. We are asking for the removal of the government’s power to legislate by ordinance on this specific subject, and we do not want this article 6 to be the legal basis for the StopCovid application. It is also necessary to set up a liaison committee which will ensure the question of the processing of personal data.
What if the government refuses?
For us this is a non-negotiable point. If the government refuses, we will vote against the bill. The state of emergency cannot be a state of emergency.
Do you think the government is trampling on public freedoms?
In this period of crisis, there are attacks on freedoms. Some are justified by the principle of health security, like confinement, but others seem excessive to us in their application. A shield must be created to preserve freedoms. For example, freedom of movement needs to be better managed than it is currently, with territorial differences over the reopening of gardens, parks and beaches. It is also possible to set up mechanisms to protect freedom of worship. Everyday freedoms cannot be put on the back burner, even during an epidemic.