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EU to debate idea of travel vaccination certificate16 January 2021

COVID-19 vaccination certificate is medical necessity, but its privileges need to be discussed: EU Commission president

Common rules for vaccination certificates and their eventual privileges need to be discussed by EU leaders, the European Commission head said on Friday.

“I very much welcome the initiative of the Greek prime minister about the vaccination certificate,” Ursula von der Leyen told journalists at a joint press conference with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa in Lisbon.

She called such certificates a “medical necessity,” but added that what kind of privileges the document would allow would be a political and legal decision.

In a letter to the European Commission on Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriako Mitsotakis proposed an EU-wide COVID-19 vaccination certificate for travel.

In an attempt to save the upcoming tourist season, the call suggested granting free movement for those who have already been vaccinated.

Although Mitsotakis dismissed the idea of making vaccination compulsory or a prerequisite for travel, the call has already divided EU leaders.

Romanian President Klaus Ioannis said he didn’t support it because it would “divide the population of Europe in two.”

At the press conference in Lisbon, Von der Leyen also argued that a vaccination certificate should be replaced by a negative test for those who have yet to have access to vaccination.

At the same time, the Portuguese premier, whose government just took over the presidency of the European Council, stressed the importance of finding a way to ensuring the free movement of people in Europe.

“In countries such as Portugal and Greece, tourism is particularly important to our economies. It is essential that next summer we would feel safe to travel,” Costa argued.

EU leaders are supposed to continue the debate at their upcoming videoconference on the coordination of response to COVID-19 on Jan. 21.

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