Covid-19 vaccination certificate not prerequisite to travel to Greece this summer, says minister


If a coronavirus vaccination certificate is introduced at an EU-wide level, as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis suggested in a letter to the European Commission recently, it will not be a prerequisite for tourists to be allowed into Greece, Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis clarified on Thursday.

“Under no circumstance will it become a condition for someone to travel to our country,” he told private broadcaster Skai, during a discussion on the government’s preparation ahead of this year’s summer season.

Theoharis said the prime minister’s proposal was meant to “rock the boat” in order for the European Union to coordinate on this issue. He also said the vaccination certificate and the rapid antigen tests are fast, cheap and effective tools for the reopening of tourism.

The initial idea, he continued, is to test those who have not been vaccinated upon entry to Greece and let those with the certificate pass freely, to avoid “wasting resources.”
However, any decisions will be taken after consultations with the committee of experts advising the government on the coronavirus.

Mitsotakis asked European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to urge the introduction of a coronavirus vaccination certificate that would ease travel between member-states in the bloc, according to a report in Politico on Tuesday.

“It is urgent to adopt a common understanding on how a vaccination certificate should be structured so as to be accepted in all member-states,”he said, adding that he hopes to bring up the issue at an EU summit on January 21.