With the ravages that COVID-19 continues to perpetuate throughout the world, activities such as travel have slowed down drastically. Many countries such as Greece, which rely on tourism to help fuel their economy, have witnessed an immense decline in tourist activities over the past year.
As the long awaited summer months approach at a rapid pace, the European Commission wanted to jumpstart tourism by providing citizens with a more efficient way of traveling within the European Union.
On March 17 2021, the European Commission made a new proposition in order to make travel easier and safer for members of the European Union: The Digital Green Certificate.
This document, which is said to soon become available for all members of the EU in physical and digital versions, will enable countries and border security to identify:
- Who has received a vaccine
- Who has contracted COVID-19 and has recovered from it
- Who has received a negative COVID-19 test result
If it is adopted by Parliament as well as the Council, it is expected to be implemented as early as June 2021.
This short video curated by the European Commission explains in further detail what else the Digital Green Certificate has in store.
Co-presidents of the European Greens Ska Keller and Philippe Lamberts have expressed their thoughts and opinions following this proposition brought forth by the European Commission.
The main takeaways from what they shared were mainly concerns regarding discrimination amongst vaccinated and non-vaccinated EU citizens, data safety, and cooperation amongst EU member countries.
For example, citizens who choose not to vaccinate themselves or who cannot receive the vaccine for other reasons should not receive different or lesser treatment compared to citizens who do receive their doses. This could lead to new forms of discrimination amongst different groups of people.
As for issues concerning data safety, the Greens warn that, as social tensions are at an all-time high, citizens shouldn’t be burdened with additional concerns about the handling of their private information, especially since this particular information is quite sensitive.
The Greens also raise awareness about the usefulness of a “vaccine passport”. Despite the incredible progress that science and medicine have made during the past year, there are still quite a few uncertainties regarding the correlation between COVID-19 infections and immunity. There is no guarantee that contracting COVID-19 will make someone immune in the future or for how long their possible immunity can last.
Once again, the Greens note that this new proposition brings back the issue regarding vaccine accessibility. In order to have as many people possible vaccinated within the EU, vaccines should be distributed equally and fairly in order to avoid important gaps within the population. Member countries of the EU must collaborate and find ways to work together in order to tackle this pressing matter.