Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is encouraging the European Commission to create a Coronavirus vaccination certificate that would facilitate travel within the European Union.
Greece, which relies on tourism for a fifth of its economic output and is hoping to revive travel before the upcoming summer season, has already created its own standardized certificate to prove an individual has been vaccinated.
In a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Mitsotakis proposed extending the program to the entire 27-nation European Union which could be used when citizens travel across European borders.
“While we are not going to make vaccination compulsory or a prerequisite for travel, persons who have been vaccinated should be free to travel,” the prime minister said in the letter.
“(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,” Mitsotakis added.
If EU states can agree a common formula “we can then push the issue forward in the relevant international fora, thus contributing to the re-establishment of mobility on a global scale,” Mitsotakis said.
“For countries such as Greece, which are dependent on tourism, it’s imperative that this issue is resolved before the summer season.”
But opponents to Mitsotakis’ plan are plenty in Europe, arguing that such certificates would endanger the fundamental rights of European citizens by dividing people into categories according to health status, denying access to all manner of public services to the non-vaccinated and opening the door to further health tracking.
The introduction of vaccine certificates “poses essential questions for the protection of data privacy and human rights,” said Anna Beduschi, an academic from Exeter University. Such certificates could “create a new distinction between individuals based on their health status, which can then be used to determine the degree of freedoms and rights they may enjoy,” she added in an interview with Politico Europe.
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