There was a time, not so long ago, when one could move freely within the European Union (EU). This was before the Covid-19 pushed States to close their borders, as the pandemic progressed, or to put in place, in a non-harmonized manner, a battery of measures – PCR tests, quarantine, various forms and varied… – intended to discourage any travel “Non-essential”. Monday 1is March, the Commission confirmed that the return to normalcy is not expected for several months.
By announcing that the community executive would present, in March, a legislative proposal aiming to create, for the summer, a vaccine passport common to the Twenty-Seven, its president, Ursula von der Leyen, has in fact acknowledged that the virus and its variants had, momentarily in any case, got the better of the Schengen area, where the crossing of internal borders is supposed to take place without control. “The green digital passport [nommé ainsi en référence aux « voies vertes » mises en place depuis mars 2020 par les Européens pour faciliter la circulation des camions aux frontières] should make life easier for Europeans. The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the EU or abroad − for work or tourism “, she tweeted, thus responding to the request made to her by the European heads of state and government, meeting by videoconference on Thursday, February 25.
Save the summer season
During the previous council, on January 21, the Twenty-Seven had mandated the Commission to work on the creation of a vaccination certificate, on the model of the WHO yellow booklet, which would be recognized by all the countries of the EU and whose objective was then to respond to purely medical concerns. For example, the Commission had explained a few days later, to ensure the follow-up of people who would have received a first dose in one State then the second in another.
At the time, several Member States, foremost among which Germany and France, were very reluctant to allow this vaccination certificate to grant broader rights, such as that of travel. Angela Merkel like Emmanuel Macron then considered this debate highly premature, given the slowness of the vaccination campaigns. They also feared that the establishment of a vaccination passport would be equated with an obligation to be vaccinated – a particularly sensitive subject in France.
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