The European Union’s executive will propose next week that new COVID-19 certificates combine information on vaccination, recovery from the sickness and test results to avoid discrimination between citizens, a senior official said.
Southern EU countries reliant on tourism hope such “passports” would help unlock its summer season this year but ran into opposition from Germany, France and Belgium stressing that inoculation is neither obligatory nor available to all.
“We are working on a certificate – it’s not a passport – but it’s not only about vaccination. It about recovery for the people who had sickness, vaccination or test,” European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said on Thursday.
“We don’t have mandatory vaccine so it’s possible to refuse to be vaccinated. And we don’t have for the moment the capacity to organize vaccination for all the people who want to be vaccinated. We don’t want to have any discrimination.”
The EU’s slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been widely criticised, with only about 5% of people inoculated so far and the bloc’s target of inoculating 70% of its adult population by the end of the summer seen to be increasingly in question.
But, keen to revive economic growth mauled by the pandemic, the bloc’s 27 national leaders agreed last month to prepare joint rules for such COVID-19 “green certificates” before the summer.
They must yet agree, however, how exactly to use them and what travel rights would be attached.
(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska Editing by Mark Heinrich)