EU may OK green pass for summer holiday high
With tourism-reliant countries anxiously waiting for the return of a steady influx of income, the European Union’s executive body presented a proposal on Wednesday that would allow European citizens and residents to travel freely across the 27-member bloc by the summer.
The plan, which will be discussed next week during a summit of EU leaders, foresees the creation of vaccine certificates aimed at facilitating travel from one member state to another.
The topic has been discussed for weeks and proved to be divisive.
The travel industry and southern European countries dependent on tourism like Greece and Spain have been pushing for the quick introduction of the measure, which could help avoid quarantines and testing requirements.
But several member states, including France, argued that it would be premature and discriminatory to introduce such passes since a large majority of EU citizens haven’t had access to vaccines so far.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said less than 5 percent of European citizens have been fully vaccinated amid delays in deliveries and production. But the European Commission remains it can achieve its goal that 70 percent of EU adults is vaccinated by the end of summer.
To secure the adhesion of all member states, the commission proposed that its so-called Digital Green Certificates, which should be free of charge, would be delivered to EU residents who can prove they have been vaccinated, but also to those who tested negative for the virus or have proof they recovered from it.
“Being vaccinated will not be a precondition to travel,” the commission said. “All EU citizens have a fundamental right to free movement. The Digital Green Certificate will make it easier to exercise that right, also through testing and recovery certificates.”
The executive body proposed all vaccines rubber-stamped by the European Medicines Agency should be automatically recognized, but also offered governments the possibility to include vaccines like Russia’s Sputnik or China’s Sinovac, which haven’t received EU authorization yet.