France’s parliament voted to make vaccine passports a key part of daily life in the battle against COVID-19 on Sunday, after a compromise between lawmakers from the upper and lower houses.
The breakthrough in talks came a day after France was again shaken by protests against the rules that saw over 160,000 rally and dozens arrested.
President Emmanuel Macron last week ordered that the health pass, proof of full vaccination or a negative test, would be required for the French to visit venues such as cinemas or nightclubs.
The announcement was a move by Macron to make vaccinations the top weapon against COVID-19 as new variants emerge, requiring people to become vaccinated if they want to continue daily routines.
Those changes were implemented by decree. Yet parliament has been engaged in a marathon session since July 20, debating whether to extend them.
Vaccine passports have encountered fierce opposition from some, who believe they erode civil liberties.
The ruling party has faced a tough task pushing the legislation through parliament.
Pro-Macron MPs control the National Assembly, but the Senate is dominated by the opposition right.
The Senate had approved the legislation but added numerous amendments that the government feared risked limiting its impact.
The two sides held three hours of talks on Sunday. It came to a compromise to pass the bill that evening by a large majority, 156 votes for, 60 against and 14 abstentions.
The legislation still needs to be approved by France’s highest administrative authority, the Constitutional Council, before becoming law.
The new legislation would make it compulsory from August for air travel and inter-city trains.
The Senate wanted the legislation to be more mindful of civil liberties. Some 161,000 people had protested Saturday against the pass.
Parliamentary sources said the compromise means the system will only continue after November 15 following a new vote.
“COVID[-19] is temporary, but firings are final,” argued one Republican member of the Senate, Philippe Bas.