Six members of the European Parliament have been sanctioned for not respecting the rules regarding access to the parliament buildings, which since recently requires an EU Digital COVID Certificate.
From 3 November 2021, the request to present an EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) to access Parliament's buildings in all three locations - Strasbourg (its official seat), Brussels and Luxembourg - was extended to "all people wishing to enter." All six MEPs were in violation of this, the institution's president, David Sassoli, announced on Wednesday during the plenary session in Strasbourg.
"Violating the rules of the health pass to enter the parliament is a serious act, not only because it violates the rules we have imposed on ourselves, but also because it puts at risk the health of MEPs and other people" present in the Parliament buildings, Sassoli said according to Belga news agency.
The decision to require the DCC for access was challenged by a handful of MEPs and staff of the European Parliament, but the President of the European Court of First Instance dismissed the case at the end of November, pending a ruling on the merits.
This certificate - both digital and paper certificates are accepted - proves that a person is either fully vaccinated, has immunity after having recovered from Covid-19 or can show a recent negative PCR test result of a test carried out within the last 48 hours in Belgium, Luxembourg or France.
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The penalties imposed on the MEPs depend on whether the offences are one-off or recurrent, and range from a simple warning to the withdrawal of a daily allowance of two to seven days.
The MEPs concerned, who were given the opportunity to comment, are German MEP Christine Anderson (ID, far right; loss of two days' subsistence allowance), Irish MEP Clare Daly (GUE/NGL, far left; warning), Lithuania's Stasys Jakeliunas (Greens/ALD; 2 days), Croatia's Mislav Kolakusic (independent; 2 days), Romania's Cristian Terhes (CRE, Eurosceptic conservatives; 7 days) and Ireland's Mick Wallace (GUE/NGL; warning).