France Opinion

The danger of Macron's decision to depict the unvaccinated as 'non-citizens'

In an interview with daily newspaper Le Parisien French president Emmanuel Macron cheerfully admitted that he wanted to “piss off” those who had chosen not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as much as possible. The comment has made headlines around the world. But less remarked upon was his extraordinary description of anyone unvaccinated as an “irresponsible person who is no longer a citizen”. In saying this, says Mediapart's political correspondent Ellen Salvi, the head of state – the guarantor of law in the French Republic – has committed a moral, institutional and political error. In this op-ed article she argues that Emmanuel Macron is adding hysteria to the debate, dividing society and giving fresh impetus to the very people he is claiming to be combating.

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The opposition is up in arms, senior figures in the ruling party are once again forced to row to the rescue and a Parliamentary debate on vaccine passports was stopped in its tracks in the middle of the night. It is a good thing, then, that Emmanuel Macron has “learnt” from his past errors, as he stated on December 15th, otherwise goodness only knows what the French president might have said about the unvaccinated barely three weeks later.

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