On Wednesday, the European Commission presented its proposal for a digital vaccine passport, which should make it easier for people to travel between EU countries. Norway is allowed to join the scheme.
The electronic document should indicate whether a person has been vaccinated, tested negative, or recovered after being infected.
The hope is that the member states and the European Parliament can process the proposal quickly so that the vaccine passport can be used by the summer.
“With this certificate, we will ensure that EU citizens and their families can travel safely and with as few restrictions as possible this summer,” EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders noted.
It will be important for many of the countries in Southern Europe, where tourism is a large part of the economy.
In addition to the vaccine passport being valid throughout the EU, the Commission allowed Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein to join. The passport will be free of charge and issued to citizens of other countries residing in the EU.
“The certificate shall ensure that the information contained therein is recognized in all Member States. The goal is to help countries reintroduce free movement in a safe, responsible, and trust-based way,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.
Opposition to the proposal
Opposition to the proposal is expected from several member states, led by France, who fear discrimination against those still waiting to be vaccinated.
When the topic was discussed at a video conference last month, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel said that the vaccine passport could only be used to avoid measures if a large proportion of the population has been vaccinated. Thus, its benefits will be limited.
Reynders noted that the certificate should not discriminate in any way.
The Commission says the new passport, which is officially referred to as a “green digital certificate,” should be accepted in all EU countries.
It should contribute to a coordinated easing of travel restrictions. Everyone who is legally resident in the EU and has the digital certificate should have the same exemption from travel restrictions as the citizens of the country they are visiting.
If a country still requires quarantine or testing for those who have the vaccine passport, the decision must be reported and justified to the Commission and the member states, the EU Commission noted.
According to the proposal, EU countries will be required to accept all vaccines approved in the Union.
In addition, they will be able to choose to accept people who have received other vaccines. Several countries, for example, have started using the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, even though it has not yet been approved in the EU.
The Commission stated that people’s health information would not be shared across national borders.
When traveling, the certificate itself must be checked. Information about testing, vaccination, and previous illness should not be stored in the country people are visiting.
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews
Do you have a news tip for Norway Today? We want to hear it. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org