heads of state and government met on the 25th February in the monthly video
conference of the European Council, the debate focused on travel restrictions
in many countries, the vaccine strategy and EU-wide digital vaccination
certificates. It is true that non-essential travel would have to be restricted
for the time being, as quoted in the joint statement
released by the members of the European Council. According to the vaccination certificate
supporters, the introduction of certificates that are valid throughout Europe
could restore freedoms to EU citizens.
Is freedom to travel coming?
within the EC, whose supporters come mainly from countries with a high
proportion of tourism in their GDP, ultimately met with approval. A certificate
that is valid throughout Europe is associated with many hopes in the general
public and in the economy, e.g. freedom for holiday enthusiasts to travel as
well as full coffers for tourism and transport companies.
Vaccination certificates to be issued on a national basis
now up to the member states to develop their own digital vaccination
certificates. In Germany, this will be a barcode that can be downloaded to a
smartphone via an app. The code can be read out via an inspection app by
government agencies or private service providers such as event organisers,
hoteliers, etc. The data to be included and the standards to be met were
defined back in January.
Europe enables data exchanging
has the task of developing an approach to ensure compatibility and data
exchanging between national systems at European level. It wants to realise this
in a period of "around three months at least", according to Commission
President, Ursula von der Leyen.
the European Council did not agree upon how the vaccination certificates should
be used in the end. It is up to the member states to decide which facilities or
freedoms will be ultimately granted via the vaccination certificate. The
initial certificate will be nothing more than a medical certificate. However, a
number of EU countries sympathise with the possibility of free entry after
Vaccination certificate used as an admission ticket?
commercial enterprises can also decide on the use of the vaccination
certificates. The case of the travel company, Alltours shows where the journey
can go from here. The company has declared that it will probably only
accommodate holidaymakers with proof of vaccination in its hotels as from
autumn of this year. A "Corona pass" could quickly become an entry
requirement imposed by tour operators, restaurateurs and theatres.
Private companies are creating precedents
it is fundamentally more difficult for the state to grant freedom to vaccinated
people against the background of slow vaccinations and the prioritisation of
groups of people, private commercial companies can create precedents here. For
this reason, some countries, such as Austria, want to make the digital pass
more comprehensive from the outset and also include information about a
negative PCR test result or a history of COVID-19.
Patchwork quilt programmed
Germany, there are still reservations about further applications with reference
to the lack of proof that the vaccination actually prevents the virus from
being passed on. The German Federal Ministry of Health is working on a
streamlined, digital model that can be issued in addition to the usual
paper-based pass. Whether, where and to what extent the digital vaccination
certificate will make people's lives easier this summer remains to be seen. The
three-month time-frame mentioned in the address is quite ambitious.