Saturday

4th Feb 2023

French National Assembly bans burqa

  • French deputies ignored critics' charges that the legislation was targetting Muslims (Photo: FotoRita)

France has taken a major step toward becoming the second country in Europe to ban the burqa.

In a 335-to-one vote in favour of the bill in the 557-seat National Assembly, deputies ignored critics' charges that the legislation targets Muslims and endorsed plans to fine women for choosing to cover their face.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Under the rules, which must be backed by the Senate in September before passing into force, women will be banned from wearing a full face veil such as the burqa or niqab in public.

Scofflaws would face fines of €150 for the first offence and men who force their wives to cover their faces would be slapped with an indemnity of €30,000 and a year in jail.

The opposition Socialists, who would have preferred that the bill only ban burqas from public buildings, abstained from the vote.

Although the bill does not make any explicit reference to Islam, many of France's 5 million Muslims argue that the legislation singles out their religion. Only a small minority - 1,900 women - of France's Muslims wear the full veil.

But the ban is massively popular from left to right, with some 82 percent of the French backing the law.

Belgium's lower house has also banned the burqa, while Spain announced in June it would ban the veil from public places for reasons of "security."

However, In March, France's Council of State, a senior government advisory body, warned that the bill could be unconsitutional. If the Senate approves the legislation, it will be reviewed by the country's Constitutional Court.

The Council of Europe has also warned such laws infringe upon individual freedom. They are likely to challenged by the European Court of Human Rights.

EU lobby register still riddled with errors

The EU's lobby register remains riddled with errors, with pro-transparency campaigners demanding better data and mandatory rules. The latest findings come amid a raft of proposals by the European Parliament president to weed out corruption in the wake of Qatargate.

Latest News

  1. Greece faces possible court over 'prison-like' EU-funded migration centres
  2. How the centre-right can take on hard-right and win big in 2024
  3. Top EU officials show Ukraine solidarity on risky trip
  4. MEPs launch anonymous drop-box for shady lobbying secrets
  5. Hawkish ECB rate-rise 'puts energy transition at risk'
  6. MEPs push for greater powers for workers' councils
  7. How Pavel won big as new Czech president — and why it matters
  8. French official to take on Islamophobia in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us