French President Emmanuel Macron has warned he intends to make life difficult for people in France who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
“I really want to hassle them, and we will continue to do this – to the end,” said Macron.
But political opponents said the strong language he used in an interview was not worthy of a president. His comments prompted MPs to suspend debate on a law barring the unvaccinated from much of public life.
The session in the National Assembly was halted for a second night running as opposition delegates complained about the president’s language, with one leading figure describing it as “unworthy, irresponsible and premeditated”.
The legislation was expected to be approved in a vote this week, but it has angered vaccine opponents and several French MPs have said they have received death threats over the issue.
Mandatory vaccinations are being introduced in several European countries, with Austria leading the way for over-14s from next month and Germany planning a similar move for adults.
Macron said that while he would not “vaccinate by force”, he hoped to encourage people to get jabbed by “limiting as much as possible their access to activities in social life”.
“I won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison,” he said. “So we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”