The European Commission is proposing a ‘Digital Green Certificate’ to kickstart travel inside the EU during the pandemic. It will include vaccination, test and antibody information.
The pass would serve as an assurance that a traveller has been vaccinated against Covid-19, received a negative test result or has recovered from the virus. It will be available, free of charge, in digital via a QR code or in paper format.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented the plan publicly in Brussels on Wednesday.
The vaccination certificates will be based on inoculations approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), however members states will be able to decide if they will accept vaccines that haven’t been given the green light by the EMA, such as the Sputnik V from Russia.
The pass will be valid in all EU countries and will be open for Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It will be issued to EU citizens and their family members, regardless of their nationality.
Additionally, non-EU nationals who reside in the bloc and visitors who have the right to travel to other member states will also be allowed to apply for the certificate.
The pass will be displayed in two languages: the official language of the issuing member state as well as English.
Vaccine passports have faced opposition from some EU member states over concerns they might be discriminatory against young people who are not considered a priority for inoculation. There is also no clear evidence that vaccines fully prevent a person from carrying or passing on the virus.
However, the implementation of an EU-wide certificate is eagerly awaited by tourism-reliant countries like Spain, Greece and Italy, which need a summer rebound to kick start their badly damaged economies.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday welcomed the planned certificate, which he said would “significantly facilitate the movement of citizens and will help boost tourism and the economies that rely heavily on it”.
In order for the pass to be ready in time for summer, it will have to go through a faster-than-usual adoption process in the European Parliament and the Council.
The Commission said the digital pass is only a temporary measure and will be suspended once the World Health Organsation (WHO) declares an end to the global health emergency.
Photo by Matthew Smith on Unsplash