Vaccine passports could be ‘unnecessarily divisive’ says expert
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Brussels published plans for a new vaccine travel passport and said tourists from Britain would be welcome under the scheme. Eurocrats also hinted they could soon drop a bloc-wide travel ban on Britons to the Continent because of our hugely successful rollout of Covid jabs. Announcing the plans, the European Commission said its so-called “Digital Green Certificate” will be up and running by June.
Holiday hotspots, such as Greece, Portugal, Spain, will be allowed to use them to welcome hoards from Britons in a bid to reboot their pandemic-stricken tourism industries.
Commission vice-president Vera Jourova said: “We all want the tourist season to start. We can’t afford to lose another season.
“Tourism, and also culture and other sectors that are dependent on tourism, terribly suffer. We’re talking about tens of millions of jobs.”
Under the plans, UK holidaymakers will be allowed to apply for a European vaccines passport to allow a summertime trip to the Continent.
The EU will invite British travellers to join its vaccine passport scheme (Image: GETTY)
But in the “medium-term” Brussels said it would work with foreign governments in order to recognise their own jabs certificates.
The Brussels vaccines passport will be provided to Europeans for free but there is not yet any indication Britons will be charged to join the scheme.
The blueprint paves the way for EU nations to drop their bans on foreign tourists from outside the bloc.
Eurocrats said they would take notes of countries, such as Britain, with highly successful rollouts of vaccines.
European Commission vice-president Vera Jourova (Image: GETTY)
“The Council should remain attentive to the evolution of the situation in countries outside the EU,” the Commission plan says.
“And particularly where reduced incidence of COVID-19 can be seen to have been driven down on a sustainable basis, for example by widespread vaccination with vaccines of demonstrated efficacy.”
Brussels is yet to set out a timeline for when Britons will be able to take advantage of the scheme, but it is expected to be in place before the summer.
European countries that could adopt solo vaccine passports (Image: EXPRESS)
An EU official said: “The certificates are meant to support free movement within the EU.
“We’ll of course need to think about what to do about external borders, but there are no decisions yet.
“We’ve always focused on facilitating travel within the EU first, before thinking of relaxing external travel restrictions.”
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Under the scheme, Britons will have to provide proof of vaccination, a negative Covid test or antibodies from an antigen screening.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said today the Government is also exploring launching its own vaccine passports.
He said: “I can’t say today this is absolutely going to happen. We’re having conversations about how best to take this forward and how best to reassure people.
“And also, not just reassuring people but keeping our people safe. We’re having conversations all the time about what the best next steps should be.”