Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated his call for an EU-wide vaccination certificate that would simplify travel across the bloc, noting the importance of setting it up ahead of this year’s summer season.
Presenting the idea in an opinion piece published in Euractiv on Thursday, Mitsotakis stressed that the idea is to create a “fast travel lane” that would minimize delays for citizens who have been inoculated and “not to divide Europeans into two categories.”
The call coincides with the virtual meeting of EU leaders on Thursday to discuss, among others, the roll-out of vaccines across the block. The Greek premier said he will bring up the issue in the meeting.
“Through the EU wide introduction of an agreed and standardised digital vaccine certificate template we can quickly open up again, reviving tourism and recreation, and allowing our citizens to move freely and without restrictions from country to country,” he said.
“People will rightly ask if this could lead to some kind of curtailment of freedom to travel? No, it will not. We should not confuse a vaccination certificate with a travel passport. Our aim is not to divide Europeans into two categories, those who are vaccinated and those who aren’t. Instead we want to create a ‘fast travel lane’ for those with a digitally standardized certificate.”
Mitsotakis says that those who wish to travel, but have not be vaccinated should still be able to do so under existing travel rules, such as obligatory PCR testing before travel, rapid tests upon arrival and quarantines where appropriate.
“One of the biggest levers we can pull on is linking vaccine certification with an uninhibited – by current existing restrictions – movement of travel. And we can do so at a European Union level,” he said.