European Union to issue vaccine passports, says the president of the European Commission
The European Union will propose issuing a certificate called a Digital Green Pass that would let people who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus travel more freely, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said on Monday. Tourism-dependent nations like Greece have been pushing for such a plan to help salvage the summer travel season, while others, led by France, have been wary of the potential for discrimination between vaccinated and non-vaccinated Europeans, as well as possible infringement on personal data protection, The New York Times reported.
Following last week’s EU summit, where the idea was first discussed, Von der Leyen said the vaccine certificate could be launched in three months’ time, and that the pass would uphold data protection standards. Others have argued about the fairness of allowing only those who have had access to vaccines to travel while many others must still live under restrictions. The commission said last week it would seek to avoid discrimination against citizens who have not received a vaccine, according to Voice of America.
For Belgium, there is “no question” that the European Covid-19 digital vaccination passport will be linked to people’s freedom of movement, according to the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sophie Wilmès. Wilmès reacted on Twitter to say she opposes a link between free travel in the EU and possible vaccination. According to her, the idea of “a standardised European system that allows each individual to collect information about their vaccination and tests on a single digital document (certificate)” is a good one. “However, in Mrs Von der Leyen’s proposal, the term ‘pass’ is confusing when we look at the purpose of the certificate,” Wilmès added. “For Belgium, there is no question of linking vaccination to freedom of movement in Europe,” she said. “Respect for the principle of non-discrimination is all the more fundamental because vaccination is not compulsory and there is not yet universal access to the vaccine,” as reported by The Brussels Times.
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