The European Commission president has said Brussels will launch a proposal for the introduction of digital vaccine passports for use across the bloc in March, after the German chancellor said it should be ready by the summer.
“As for the question of what the digital green passport could look like, we will submit a legislative proposal in March,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told German conservative lawmakers on Monday.
Von der Leyen’s remarks came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed that the vaccine passport would be ready in time for the summer, with a number of southern European states championing the scheme as a way of reopening the tourism industry.
“In the future, it will certainly be good to have such a certificate but that will not mean that only those who have such a passport will be able to travel; about that, no political decisions have been made yet,” Merkel added following last week’s virtual leaders’ summit.
Merkel also highlighted that too few people had been vaccinated in the bloc to consider introducing the digital passport in the near term.
Around 30 million Covid-19 jabs have so far been administered across the EU, a fraction of the bloc’s 446 million inhabitants. Meanwhile, the UK alone has administered almost 21 million vaccines.
Negotiations have already begun between nations to get tourism and travel moving again. In mid-February, Haris Theoharis, the Greek tourism minister, confirmed that negotiations had kicked off with his UK colleagues to allow holiday travel to return safely between the two nations, with an expedited process for those who have been vaccinated.
Greece has already signed an agreement with Israel to allow vaccinated people to move freely between the two countries. Such accords are important for the Greek economy, which is heavily reliant on tourism revenue.
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