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EU considers Covid-19 vaccination passport to travel

Credit: Belga

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is in favour of a vaccination certificate that would be recognised in all Member States of the European Union.

“It is absolutely necessary to have a certificate when you are vaccinated,” said Von der Leyen said at a press conference with Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa on Friday. “That is a medical necessity.”

Political and legal questions about what rights would possibly be attached to such a vaccine certificate or passport, however, should be discussed during a debate, according to Von der Leyen.

Several Member States have already warned that such a passport could become a source of discrimination, as it could allow holders to be able to travel around Europe freely, while others still waiting their turn for vaccination will not have that same right.

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“It is always important to find a fair balance. For example, you can combine a certificate with a negative coronavirus test for those who have not yet had access to a vaccine,” von der Leyen suggested, calling for agreements at the European level.

The proposal was being pushed by Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, but several other EU members, including Germany, are wary of the idea.

However, Mitsotakis, whose country’s economy heavily relies on travel and tourism, stated that vaccination would not be an explicit condition for travel, but that a guarantee of unhindered travel could motivate people to get vaccinated.

On Thursday 21 January, the heads of government will meet over videoconference to discuss the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis and the possibility of such a passport.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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