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European Leaders Are Calling For A “Vaccine Passport” Before The Summer Tourism Season Arrives.

European Leaders Are Calling For A “Vaccine Passport” Before The Summer Tourism Season Arrives.

European leaders, deeply concerned that another summer’s lucrative tourism trade could be lost to the pandemic, are escalating calls for the European Union to introduce a common system that would allow borders to reopen to people who have been inoculated against the virus.

 

Even as Europe’s vaccination program contends with long delays and one senior European Union official admitting it would be “difficult” to reach the bloc’s goal of vaccinating 70 percent of adults by the end of summer, the idea of a European Union-wide vaccine passport system has become a hotly discussed topic.

 

Senior officials in Greece and Spain — countries heavily reliant on tourism — are among those who have supported proposals for a program of so-called vaccine passports. They argue that requiring people to show a certificate proving they have received a coronavirus shot would restore the bloc’s pillar of free movement, help draw in summer holidaymakers and allow business trips to return. Before a scheduled online meeting on Thursday of the heads of all 27 European Union nations, the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, added his voice in support of the idea.

 

“We want to get back to normal as quickly as possible, have our old lives back and maximum freedom,” Mr. Kurz said in a tweet on Wednesday. “We therefore want an EU-wide Green Passport, with which people can travel freely, do business without restrictions and go on holiday, as well as finally enjoy gastronomy, culture, events and other things again.”

 

But there is concern brewing that introducing a vaccine passport system so early in Europe’s vaccination program would create a two-tier system by the summer of inoculated people who could travel carefree while those yet to be vaccinated would be grounded. European leaders are not expected to make a decision at the summit meeting on Thursday on the use of vaccination certificates, but they are expected to discuss how to ensure such a program would be able to run across all countries in the bloc.

 

In an interview with Bild Live, a digital offshoot of the German tabloid, Mr. Kurz urged that the passport system to be one easily accessible on a cellphone. He said he supported the idea “so everyone can have all the freedoms back that we value so much,” adding that he was “personally very optimistic about the summer.”

 

Source: The New York Times

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