EU's vaccine passport should be ready by June 1
The EU Commission is pressing on full steam ahead with its plans for a digital vaccination passport, which it says should be in use before the start of summer. What is less clear, however, is exactly what the passport will allow its holders to do.
EU digital green pass should be usable by summer
The EU’s digital vaccination certificate should be ready in time for the start of the summer holidays on June 1. That’s what EU Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview this week. “The passport should be usable by the beginning of summer,” he said, “and summer starts on June 1.”
The commission has christened the project “digital green pass” - derived from the Israeli “green passport” that can be loaded on mobile phones. It will not only document vaccinations, but also results of approved PCR and rapid tests as well as past coronavirus infections. It is therefore designed not to discriminate against people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. “Free travel in the Schengen area is a basic right for every citizen, that’s why we don’t want to make it dependent on a vaccination certificate,” said Schinas.
Each passport will contain a QR code that leads to a database, where authorities can check the name of the person, when they were vaccinated, with which vaccine, and who issued the proof. By the end of May, the commission wants to develop an interface that will allow data to be exchanged between all member states.
It is not yet clear how the EU will deal with vaccines that have not yet been approved by the European Medicines Agency - such as the Russian Sputnik V and the Chinese Sinopharm vaccines, which are both being administered in Hungary, for example.
Passport not necessarily a free pass for travel this summer
As in Israel, it should not only make travel possible again in Europe, but also other areas of public life, such as eating in restaurants and attending the theatre - but this is where the consensus begins to break down.
Angela Merkel, for instance, has argued against giving any special privileges to vaccinated people so long as jabs are in such scarce supply that not everybody can receive one. On the other hand, Greece and a number of other countries that are heavily dependent on tourism are insisting that the document should essentially represent a free pass for travel.