The European Commission presented its proposal for a “Digital Green Certificate”, which will attest to whether the holder has been vaccinated against Covid-19 or tested negative, or recovered from the virus, to facilitate free movement within the EU. The Green Certificate will need to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in order to be implemented in June. According to the European Commission, this instrument of mutual recognition between Member States fully complies with the legislation on personal data protection.
Philippe Lamberts MEP, President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, comments: “We fully understand – and share no less fully – the desire of our societies to find again a vibrant social life, especially ahead of the summer holidays. In that perspective, a common instrument ascertaining a person’s situation in terms of vaccination, testing or a recovery of a Corona infection may prove useful. But it should not entail any discrimination with regard to free movement between those that have been vaccinated and those that have not yet been vaccinated, cannot be vaccinated or chose not to, in particular as we have yet to have conclusive evidence that vaccination strongly reduces the contamination potential of vaccinated people. Therefore, vaccinations must be seen on equal footing with a current negative test or the presence of antibodies. The certificate should only be used to facilitate free movement if and when we have simple and universal access to testing in all Member States. It will be necessary to ensure non-discrimination as Member States decide how they will use it.”
“This certificate must not lead to a false sense of security. We need to vaccinate more and faster across the EU, expand vaccine production capacity and significantly increase testing. Vaccine producers, which have enjoyed massive state support and stand to benefit hugely from the pandemic must be held to their contractual obligations.”
Ska Keller MEP, President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, commented: “It is better to have a European proposal than 27 national ones. We have already seen with the different Corona-Apps how much European coordination could have made a difference. But there are still questions open with regard to the usefulness of a vaccination certificate that need to be answered; most importantly if a vaccination surely prevents transmission.”
“Member States also need to clarify for which purposes they will want to use the certificate. Basic services always need to be available for everyone. This pandemic has already led to a lot of societal tensions, it’s important that a certificate doesn’t add to that. Data protection needs to be ensured. Medical data are extremely sensitive data and need special protection.”