Several media outlets report on the European vaccination certificates debate.
During a hearing with Commissioner Reynders, MEPs made it clear that many questions remain. They disagree with the Commission's text on several points. Some countries, as well as the MEPs, wonder about past Covid infections being included, because of a lack of scientific data. The European Parliament will hopefully decide by summer, Swedish MEP Tomas Tobé (EPP) states in an interview. He said that a strong majority in the Parliament supports such a passport. The European Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal at its plenary session scheduled for 7-10 June. During the hearing at the European Parliament, Commissioner Reynders and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs MEPs debated the creation of the European vaccination certificates. Commissioner Reynders explained that “we want to be ready to start the pilot project at the beginning of June and to be able to start the entire system by the end of June.” He underlined that the certificates are designed to avoid discrimination. Commissioner Reynders explained " we will actually introduce three certificates - for vaccinated people, for those who have recovered and for those with negative tests", adding that the certificates will be valid for 180 days and will be renewable.
Commissioner Reynders told the parliamentary committee that airlines will be able to check the validity of the certificate quickly during check-in and avoid any long verification process at the boarding gate. He argued that this is not a passport of any kind and that the word should no longer be used. Digital Green Certificate - this is what Brussels is now calling it, and this is the term it wants to use. Commissioner Reynders also give assurances that the certificate would contain a limited amount of personal data. Besides, he further explained that every vaccine approved by the EMA would be automatically recognised in the certificate, but governments may also accept vaccines that have not been authorised in the EU. Chief Spokesperson Eric Mamer told the press that Member States can decide not to recognise certain vaccines, but that discrimination must be avoided.
In the same discussion session, the European data protection watchdog said it saw no major privacy concerns. The European Parliament has launched an urgent procedure to get the legislation on the vaccination certificate approved. Negotiations with the Member States, necessary for a final agreement, will probably start this month. The plan is to provide a uniform European document without the use of a central European database. Furthermore, Latvia supports the introduction of the digital green certificate in the EU as soon as possible. Latvia also wants the procedure for obtaining a certificate to be simple and free of charge.