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5th Dec 2022

Handful of MEPs protest EU Parliament's new Covid pass

  • MEPs and others wanting access to the European Parliament will need a Covid digital certificate as of next Wednesday (3 November) (Photo: European Parliament)
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A group of MEPs resorted to scare tactics and false information on Thursday (28 October) to rail against the European Parliament's plans to impose a digital green pass next week in order to gain access to its buildings.

Among them was the 42-year old Romanian conservative MEP Cristian Terhes, who told reporters in Brussels that the parliament is stripping away people's "right to decide as they want to do with their own bodies."

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As of the start of November, MEPs and staff working at the institution will be required to present a Covid green digital pass to enter its premises.

The pass proves a person is either fully-vaccinated or recently recovered. They can also show a negative PCR result carried out within the last 48 hours.

Belgium earlier this week re-imposed some pandemic measures as coronavirus cases and hospitalisations increased in the country.

This included extended mandatory mask-wearing in indoor settings, including government buildings.

None of the six MEPs, including Terhes, holding a press conference within the Brussels-based European Parliament building were wearing masks.

Terhes lists himself as a priest in his declaration of financial interests, last filed in the start of 2019.

He also comes from a country, Romania, which currently has the highest Covid death rates anywhere in the European Union.

According to the European Centre of Disease and Prevention Control (ECDC), Romania's death rate over a 14-day period is 246 per million inhabitants. In Belgium, it is 16.

Last week, Romanian authorities announced 574 people had lost their lives due to Covid over a span of 24 hours, the highest ever for the nation of 19.3 million inhabitants.

At 37 percent of adults, Covid vaccination rates in Romania are the second lowest in the EU.

German MEP prefers jail to vaccine

Terhes was joined on stage by Germany's Christine Anderson of the far-right AfD party, who made false claims on the vaccines.

"I will not be vaccinated with anything that has not been properly vetted and tested and has shown no sound scientific evidence," she said.

Anderson said she would rather be jailed than get the vaccine, claiming her struggle is one of freedom. She also refuses to get tested. Onsite stations with extended opening hours enable MEPs to obtain free PCR tests.

As of the end of September 2021, nearly 563 million doses of vaccines have been given to people in the EU and associated states.

Covid-19 vaccines have also been proven safe and effective, greatly reducing viral induced symptoms that can kill and hospitalise the unvaccinated.

Like all vaccines, they are first vetted and tested before approval by the European Medicines Agency. This includes clinical trials involving thousands of people.

There have been 360,000 reports of suspected side effects, some not necessarily related to or caused by the vaccine, out of the 420,000,000 doses so far administered in the EU alone.

Ivan Vilibor Sinčić, a non-attached MEP from Croatia, resorted to scare tactics to get his point across.

He said the digital green certificate was designed to blackmail people and erode their rights. "This is not going to stop by itself. It will spread, it will come to your door. It will blackmail your life," he said.

A handful of other MEPs have also written a letter of protest to the European Parliament's president, David Sassoli.

They say the pass would discriminate against staff who do not wish to be or cannot be vaccinated.

The European Parliament does not require people to get vaccinated. Negative PCR tests and those recovered from the virus are also granted access.

EUobserver understands the parliament's secretary-general may also grant individual derogations, in case of need and if justifiable.

The protest letter was signed by French Green MEP Michele Rivasi, French centre-right François-Xavier Bellamy, Italian independent Francesca Donato, French far-right Virginie Joron, French far-left Anne-Sophie Pelletier, and conservative Dutch MEPs Rob Rooken and Robert Roos.

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The surge of Covid-19 infections in eastern EU member countries, particularly the Baltic states, is putting health systems under increasing pressure, prompting governments to reimpose restrictive measures.

Romania's Covid 'fourth wave' surpasses first outbreak

The weekly trend now puts Romania ahead of all other EU member states - and sixth worldwide. On 28 September Romania registered another first: the highest number of daily new Covid cases since the pandemic began over 18 months ago.

Covid-pass protestors try to storm Romanian parliament

The protest was organised by the far-right populist party the Alliance for Romanian Unity (AUR), which is strongly against Covid restrictions and against the law that would make a certificate mandatory for the workplace.

Romania reaches historic high in Covid deaths

The macabre scenes, with town halls across the country using excavators to dig burial plots for recently Covid-deceased, as cemeteries and undertakers can no longer cope, has led to a surge in those wanting to vaccinate.

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