European authorities aim for the new coronavirus-related immunity certificate, also known as the green passport, to take effect before the summer break and facilitate intra-EU travel for the summer season, European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton said on Sunday.
The European immunity certificate, the idea of which will be presented in detail by the European Commission on Wednesday, will include whether the owner has already been vaccinated against the coronavirus, has recovered from it, or has had a negative test, the EU commissioner told French television channel CNews in an interview.
“There will be both electronic and also a paper version for those who don’t want to use their smartphone for that, and that’s their right,” Breton said. He added that the free QR-code card would be issued in the language of each member state, would have an English version and would be valid in all member states of the European Union.
“We are working to get it ready before June,” he said, pointing out that “it is a priority to do everything we can to preserve the tourist season”.
He is optimistic about the European vaccination program.
Breton described it as “unacceptable and incomprehensible” that AstraZeneca on the previous day announced a reduction in doses to be delivered to the European Union. He believed there were “operational disruptions in the logistics chain”, but considered it premature to consider legal actions against the manufacturer for the time being.
At the same time, the commissioner expressed his confidence in the European vaccination program, which he said was accelerating month by month. He recalled that while 14 million doses had been given to member states in January, this number had risen to 28 million in February and 60 million in March.
He promises 100 million doses a month in the second quarter and 200 million a month from the summer. Breton called the rhythm of production, with more and more vaccines arriving in the European Union, as “unprecedented” and reaffirmed the European Commission’s continued goal of providing all member states with the doses needed to achieve community-wide immunity everywhere by the end of the summer.
Breton is French and his country has the highest number of coronavirus cases since the onset of the pandemic, with 4,071,662 infections and 90,429 deaths, followed by Italy with 3,223,142 cases and Spain with 3,183,704. All three countries’ economies rely heavily on tourism revenues, and they are also the largest recipients of the EU’s €750 billion recovery fund with a combined €177.2 billion.
Title image: European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton speaks during a media conference regarding the European Battery Alliance at EU headquarters in Brussels on Friday, March 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, Pool)