Easter, Pentecost and summer holidays
Will we soon be able to travel with vaccination certificates? The most important questions and answers
Who has been vaccinated can travel again? The discussion about EU-wide vaccination records has only just begun. An identity card for vaccinated people should be available by the summer – many questions are still open.
The introduction of a Europe-wide valid vaccination card to enable vacation trips is getting closer. At their video summit this week, the EU heads of state and government basically agreed on a common approach and tasked the European Commission with the technical development. However, a number of questions are still open.
When should the ID be introduced?
According to Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), the EU countries are aiming for the summer. The EU Commission needs “about three months” for the technical implementation. That is the “political requirement”. But there is no guarantee that this is actually feasible. EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, who had already come under massive criticism because of the delivery bottlenecks for corona vaccines, warned against too high expectations and spoke of “at least” three months that were necessary.
What should the ID allow?
The question has not yet been finally clarified. Austria, Greece and other countries that are heavily dependent on tourism, especially in southern Europe, had asked for a so-called green passport based on the model of Israel before the summit. There, the ID permits visits to fitness studios, swimming pools, theaters and hotels, for example. Other countries, including France and Germany, are still skeptical. “We are very much committed to bringing the member states closer together on this issue,” said EU Council President Charles Michel.
What about kids
Chancellor Merkel pointed out that children currently cannot be vaccinated because there is no approved vaccine for them. For this reason alone, there must continue to be other options to allow travel. French President Emmanuel Macron was more negative: As long as the vaccine is administered according to age criteria, “such a document cannot grant any special rights”. He thinks of the young people who are not expected to be vaccinated in the summer.
What should the document contain?
On the one hand, the information as to whether the holder of the ID card was vaccinated against Corona, when and with which vaccine. “But there could also be other information that shed light on the possible level of immunity,” said von der Leyen. For example, when a PCR test was last carried out and whether the holder of the ID card has already contracted Covid-19 and has recovered.
What should the ID look like?
Each EU country takes care of this in detail. According to Merkel, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) will deal with this in Germany. In any case, the data should be recorded digitally so that the EU Commission can then technically merge the various national solutions and make them compatible with each other in the next step.
Von der Leyen compared the procedure with that for smartphone apps for contact tracking. The success here was, however, moderate. The Commission has been working since last spring to bring order to the jungle on various apps from the Member States. Tracing apps from a good half of the 27 EU countries are now connected to one another.
What solutions are there already?
Sweden and Denmark have announced the creation of electronic vaccination certificates, which are to be used primarily when traveling abroad. In Estonia, on the other hand, travelers are already exempt from the general quarantine rule if they present proof of vaccination. The same applies in Poland, where an app is being developed specifically for this purpose.
Greece and Cyprus have already signed bilateral agreements with Israel, according to which from April all Israelis can enter the country without any problems if they show the so-called green passport – i.e. proof that they are vaccinated. Malta is also holding corresponding talks with Israel.
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