With the vaccination process underway, European leaders are rethinking a return to normalcy. And this also means restoring free movement throughout the continent. For countries dependent on tourism such as Spain, Greece and Portugal, a vaccination certificate in which it is shown who has been inoculated against Covid-19 could become the fastest and safest way to reactivate tourism.
“The main objective is that if the person has already been vaccinated, they will not need to pass a PCR test or quarantine. So it is a method that we would even like to apply to people who need to take a test to enter another country. So you can go dividend to citizens and accelerate the process so that they can move easily “, has defended the Portuguese MEP Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar, member of the Transport and Tourism Commission.
The European Commission is already working with the Member States on these alleged passports, but the issue is sensitive and there is concern that discrimination may be generated.
“I would like to emphasize that under no circumstances do we want to create any type of situation in which people who do not want to be vaccinated or those who cannot, for example for medical reasons, see their rights and freedoms limited”, said Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission.
It is clear that at such an early stage in the vaccination process, discriminating those who have been vaccinated from those who have not, could generate tension. Some countries, such as France, have already shown a high percentage of citizens against being vaccinated, which is why their Government opposes the idea of a passport of these characteristics. Meanwhile, others wonder if this measure will really help.
“Ultimately, the vaccine is capable of stopping symptoms, but not stopping transmission, so the rationale for the certificate is not very clear … And that worries us. Scientifically, it is difficult to justify the need for a certificate when the vaccine doesn’t actually prevent other people from getting infected “, explained Alberto Alemanno, Professor of European Law at HEC Paris.
European leaders will debate the initiative at the telematics summit on Thursday and hope that an agreement will be reached on the matter by the end of the month. However, experts fear that given such a division of opinion and the slow pace at which some countries are vaccinating, making progress on the matter is unlikely.