Spain, in favor of a “broad agreement” for an international vaccination ‘passport’ that allows travel without restrictions

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The Government of Spain and the European Commission are in favor of seeking “a broad agreement” in the EU to issue an international vaccination certificate that allows travel and circumvent the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as they have stated sources from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The initial proposal has come from Greece, which has proposed the creation of this certificate to facilitate the mobility of those who have already received the vaccine.

The Greek Prime Minister, Kyariakos Mitsotakis, has sent a letter to the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and to the rest of European leaders proposing this measure. Mitsotakis explains that in the case of Greece “procedures have already been put in place to facilitate the freedom of movement of people who have been vaccinated.” And now it asks for a “standardized certificate” at European level.

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Sources from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have indicated that the Government has received this proposal “in a very positive way.” And they have recalled that Spain “has worked proactively to facilitate the greatest possible movement within the criteria of safety in Santa Cruz.” The Government sees no problems “if there is consensus in the health and scientific community” on the safety of the mobility of people who have already been vaccinated.

Spanish diplomatic sources stressed that the Greek initiative is in line with that carried out by Spain within the OECD to “establish universal, homogeneous and safe criteria for international mobility”. It is about, they added from Foreign Affairs, to set “the same frame of reference” for all countries on which vaccines are accepted, as well as what type of certificate is issued and with what information.

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Spain hopes that these criteria can be agreed at the end of February or the beginning of March to make a common decision on this possible certificate.

Von der Leyen: “It’s a good idea”

From Brussels, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has stated that it would be a “good idea” to have a mutually recognized certificate at European level that “makes life easier” for citizens who have already been vaccinated against the coronavirus. Of course, he has specified that he believes that it is a reflection with legal and political implications that should be discussed first among the 27.

“I welcome the initiative of the Greek Prime Minister for a certificate of mutual recognition of vaccination,” said Von der Leyen in a meeting with the Portuguese press in Brussels, prior to his trip to Lisbon on the occasion of the start of the current Presidency of the EU that Portugal assumes this semester, reports Europa Press.

Days before, the Greek president, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, sent a letter to Von der Leyen defending the idea of ​​creating a kind of passport for people who have been vaccinated against the virus, to make it easier for them to travel without restrictions within the European Union, at a time when member states impose different barriers to travel, such as the requirement of negative PCR or quarantines.

At a press conference this Friday, one of Von der Leyen’s spokespersons, Dana Spinant, specified that the head of the Community Executive would welcome a document that “enjoys mutual recognition in the European Union”, because that would “facilitate the life of European citizens “.

However, the community spokesperson has warned, the question of the “rights” that would be associated with such a document or what could be given “access” is something that Von der Leyen does not want to comment on yet because he considers it to be a debate with implications policies and laws that it is up to the member states to initiate, “hopefully soon.”

Up for debate next Thursday

The management of the coronavirus and the vaccination strategy will be the subject of debate at the next videoconference summit that the European Heads of State and Government plan to hold next Thursday, January 21.

Although the details of the agenda for this appointment have not yet been revealed, it has been reported that vaccination and the management of the pandemic are the basis of the discussion, so it is taken for granted that the idea of ​​a Covid passport be on the table.

From the Community Executive, however, they refuse to clarify if Von der Leyen plans to contribute concrete proposals to the debate of the leaders next Thursday and limits himself to ensuring that, if the debate is opened, the Commission “would be part of the reflections and would contribute to the discussion. ”

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