EU to Roll Out Corona Travel Certificate Before Summer

The European Union (EU) has announced plans to roll out a special corona travel certificate before the start of the summer tourist season in an attempt to reboot international travel.

Corona passport

For months, some southern European countries have been calling for the EU to implement corona vaccination passports in order to boost tourism.

Although ideas of introducing a vaccine passport were met with opposition by other European governments, it seems that the EU is finally willing to proceed with it.

Certificates

It seems that the EU now has dropped the toxic name of “corona passports” and replaced it with more innocent sounding “digital certificates”.

That said, these certificates seem to have the exact purpose as the corona passports which were desperately wanted by southern European countries.

According to European Union officials, the digital certificates will be rolled out by EU member states in the coming months.

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According to EU plans, we will all get digital corona certificates before the start of the summer season. ©Paliparan

How would the certificates work?

As it stands now, the digital certificates would allow European nationals to freely travel across EU borders again provided they can proof they are not infected with the corona virus.

This can be done in three different ways:

– Proof of vaccination
– A recent negative PCR test
– Proof of being cured from a recent corona infection

Any proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test or proof of having antibodies because of a recent corona infection would be stored in a national database.

If a traveller then crosses a border into another country, the border guards would be able to scan a QR code from the digital certificate or a printout of it and instantly see what the health status of the person is.

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The digital certificates are meant to reboot international travel and to save the upcoming summer tourist season . ©Paliparan

EU citizens

European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said the digital certificates would be “for all EU citizens, their families when they’re leaving the EU or living abroad”.

He said: “It’ll also be for the European Economic Area (EEA), because we want to work with Norway and Iceland.”

Reportedly, Switzerland will be involved too in the digital certificate plan.

It is unclear whether non-EU citizens will be given the possibility to get a digital certificate.

My take

Generally speaking, I have nothing against corona passports or digital certificates or whatever way the EU wishes to call them.

Vaccination passports are nothing new, they are already in existence for a long while. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were countries in the world which demanded proof of vaccination.

These are mostly countries in South America, Africa and Asia requiring proof of yellow fever vaccination.

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A yellow fever vaccination stamp in my vaccination passport. ©Paliparan

Caveats

However, I do certainly understand the fear and anger some people have about the whole idea of health passports and digital certificates and why some might be hesitant to get vaccinated.

So far the plans sound good to me, but I’m still slightly worried how such digital certificates will finally look like.

First of all, it is extremely important that there are realistic alternatives for people who may not have received a corona vaccine yet or those who simply do not want to get it.

If that means those persons can still easily travel with a negative PCR test it is fine, but when the alternative is quarantine it is not really a realistic alternative at all.

Second, such digital certificates should only be used for international travel. I would be absolutely against making these compulsory for the most basic activities in life, such as going to the supermarket or visiting a restaurant.

I therefore really do not hope that we will see Europe following the way of Israel.

Israel

The state of Israel can be certainly commanded for their rapid vaccination programme, but I really do not think that banning people from basic activities is the way forward as after all it is unrealistic to demand unvaccinated people to take a new PCR test every few days.

Although the digital certificate plans look fine as they are described now, I’m still curious to the final result and hope that common sense and normal liberal values will prevail.

What do you think about the plans to introduce digital certificates? Feel free to leave a comment below!

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Lovely Psili Ammos beach on the Greek island of Serifos. ©Paliparan

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Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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