As summer approaches and tourism-reliant European nations anxiously await the return of steady travel, the European Nation (EU) has proposed the creation of a “Digital Green Certificate,” that will allow both its citizens and residents to travel freely within the 27 countries by summer.
“We aim to help member states reinstate the freedom of movement in a safe, responsible and trusted manner,” the European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen has said.
The certificate, which is also being referred to as the “vaccine certificate”, will prove that a person has either been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from the coronavirus. Discussions around the plan for the issuing of these certificates will take place next week during a summit of EU leaders. So far, however, opinions around it have been highly divisive.
While tourism-reliant countries like Greece and Spain have been rallying for the introduction of this new plan, others like France, Austria and Croatia are a little bit more hesitant, arguing that the measure would be ‘premature’ and ‘discriminatory’, considering that a large majority of EU citizens haven’t even been vaccinated so far. However, the EU has said that to prevent the certificate from being discriminatory towards those who have not been vaccinated, it would carry information on PCR and antibody test results as well. The EU has also taken great pains to emphasise that this certificate would not be considered a “vaccine passport” but more like a document offering detailed information about the medical conditions of the concerned persons.
The EU further reiterated that it is confident it will be able to vaccinate about 70 per cent of its adult population by summer.
The plan to create these certificates comes after several European nations have been trying to secure new and safe travel arrangements with other countries for reviving their respective tourism industries. Greece, for example, had been in “technical talks” with the U.K. to contrive a plan or scheme that would allow vaccinated Britons to travel to its tourist hotspots. In a statement last week, Cyprus also said that it would allow fully vaccinated Britons to enter as early as May 1, even though the British government has banned non-essential travel till May 17.
The digital certificates, if approved, will carry provisions for a QR code that will contain the necessary information to be presented at airports and borders.
Sanjana Ray is that unwarranted tour guide people groan about on trips. When she isn't geeking out on travel and history, she can be found walking around the streets, crying for Bengali food. She is former Digital Writer at National Geographic Traveller India.