Cyprus Mail

Vaccination ‘green’ passes for travel to be in place by June — von der Leyen

digital green pass

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Saturday the bloc is “on track” to have its system of green passes in place by June, according to a report by Politico.

Speaking at the EU Summit in Porto, Portugal, von der Leyen said that “the legal and technical work on the green certificate is on track for the system to be operational in June,” the report said.

As for securing a deal among EU politicians on the passes, von der Leyen said that “we can realistically aim to have a political agreement by the end of this month.”

EU leaders will discuss the passes again at a meeting on May 25.

Negotiators from the Council and the Parliament launched talks on the passes earlier this week, and a second meeting is due next week.

People who have been vaccinated should not be subject to additional travel restrictions, such as quarantine, self-isolation or testing, while Covid testing should be universally free, says the European Parliament.

The Parliament, which is setting out its negotiating position on the issue of Europe-wide digital health certificates, said the move was necessary in order to avoid discrimination against those not vaccinated and for economic reasons.

The EU is aiming for the framework to enter into effect by June 21, but that’s “not a promise,” according to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “It’s a target date, depending on how the European debate goes,” he said.

Several countries, including Austria, have already taken matters into their own hands with the launch of a national pass. If there’s no EU-wide progress, countries could cut bilateral deals, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said, in the report. But he added that even countries that had aired concerns about the scheme were under pressure to restart travel.

EU officials hope the scheme will boost tourism as the coronavirus pandemic eases by offering a standard certificate verifying travelers’ jabs, tests or past infections.

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