The Europeans should be able to travel again in the summer according to the will of the EU Commission – with a “green certificate” as proof of vaccinations, tests or a survived Covid illness. Commission head Ursula von der Leyen presented the concept in Brussels on Wednesday. After harsh criticism of the vaccine shortage, she now wants to make sure that the manufacturers primarily supply the EU. Vaccine exports to countries like Great Britain should be restricted more strictly if necessary.
The EU heads of state and government had called for the development of a mutually recognized digital vaccination certificate. However, they disagree as to whether this should make travel easier. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has reservations as long as only a few have access to a corona vaccination. Vacation countries, however, are jostling. Austria wants to start gradually introducing the certificate as early as April.
Von der Leyen is also aiming at freedom of movement with the move: “With this digital certificate we want to help our member states to restore freedom of movement responsibly and safely,” said the CDU politician. The commission wants to counter the criticism of advantages for vaccinated persons with the fact that the planned certificates should also include negative tests or antibodies after a corona infection.
The commission calls the evidence “digital green certificate”. But it should also apply in paper form. Everyone should get it for free, all EU states should recognize it. The central point is a QR code that is supposed to guarantee the security and authenticity of the certificate. In principle, it should be left to the EU states which advantages they grant. However, if they continue to require, for example, quarantine or tests from holders of the certificates, they would have to explain reasons for this at EU level.
From von der Leyen’s point of view, it is crucial that vaccination is faster in Europe. She reiterated the goal of vaccinating 70 percent of adults in the EU by the end of the summer. Likewise, the forecast that the EU countries will receive 100 million vaccine doses in the first quarter and at least 300 million in the second quarter.
Export stop for vaccine
Nevertheless, von der Leyen threatened to take a tougher course against vaccine exports from the EU. According to the EU Commission, at least 41 million doses of corona vaccine have been exported to 33 countries since February 1, although vaccines are in short supply in the EU itself. That can hardly be explained to the citizens, said von der Leyen. New requirements could come for those countries that do not let any vaccine out of the country themselves or that already have a higher proportion of people vaccinated than the EU.
The main target is apparently Great Britain. According to von der Leyen’s words, ten million doses of vaccine went to the UK from the EU alone. In the EU contract with AstraZeneca, two British factories are provided for deliveries to the EU. “We’re still waiting for cans to arrive from Great Britain,” said von der Leyen. It depends on reciprocity and proportionality. “We are ready to use all the tools we need to achieve that.”
Von der Leyen criticized AstraZeneca for its delivery backlog. According to current information, the company will only deliver around 70 million cans in the second quarter, instead of the contractually promised 180 million. At Astrazeneca there is still “plenty of room for improvement”.
dpa / lp