Vaccine passports could be 'unnecessarily divisive' says expert
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The European Union has set out its plan for coronavirus vaccine certificates that could be used by UK holidaymakers this summer. Digital Green Certificates will be accepted as “proof” that a person has had a Covid-19 jab, received a negative test result or recovered from the virus, according to the European Commission’s proposal.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen outlined the plan in a press conference on Wednesday.
But the Brussels chief failed to convince EU partners on the functionality of the certificates at the border between member states.
Italian MP Claudio Borghi lashed out at Mrs von der Leyen as she appeared to contradict herself on the discrimination the plan poses for those who will be yet to receive a jab in the summer.
The League economic spokesman said: “A specific question (on discrimination) was asked to that concentrate of incompetence and arrogance that is VdL on this Covid certificates.
“She let someone else explain how there is no discrimination because there is no vaccination obligation in the EU and it (the passport) is necessary only temporarily and nothing will become fixed.
“They said forty times ‘no discrimination’ because they know they are risking a conflict with the Council of Europe.
“They said a PCR test will also be sufficient.
“To which someone raised their hand and said: ‘But who will control this? Will the borders be restored?’.
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“Panic. Absolute panic: ‘But nooo, it’s just a tool’.
“In the negativity of all this I see positive aspects.
“They are collapsing under their own contradictions.”
The certificates will “facilitate safe and free movement” within the EU but could also be obtained by non-EU nationals in countries from where travel to the bloc is permitted.
That means they are likely to be available for UK holidaymakers, as a number of countries such as France, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus have confirmed they expect to welcome the return of British tourists this summer.
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The process for obtaining a certificate has not been confirmed, as the plan stated they will be issued by national health authorities.
The document – which the EU is not describing as a “passport” – will be available in digital and paper formats.
Southern European states including Spain and Greece have pushed for the measure to be introduced as their economies are heavily reliant on the summer holiday season.
But several EU members, such as France, have expressed concern it could discriminate against the majority of people who have not been offered a vaccine.
In the UK, Michael Gove is heading up a review into “Covid status certificates”.
It is understood he is considering the possibility of the NHS coronavirus app featuring a digital health passport, which would carry details of vaccinations and negative test results.
Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press conference last month that documents providing proof that someone has received a jab “raise all sorts of issues”, but he added that certificates enabling international travel “will be a feature of our life in the future”.
The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce will provide a report to the Prime Minister on April 12 setting out recommendations for how and when foreign holidays could resume.
Leisure travel is currently banned for people living in the UK, but the rule could be relaxed for those in England from May 17.
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