The European Commission is set to propose the launch of a Covid-19 certificate to allow EU residents to travel easily within the bloc if they can prove they aren’t carrying coronavirus.
Under the proposals free movement would be restored to those who can prove they have been vaccinated, recently recovered from Covid-19 (therefore, carrying antibodies) or have a negative test for the virus.
It comes as many southern European countries who rely on summer tourism, such as Spain, Greece and Cyprus said they will be willing to open their borders to tourists from May – including to British holidaymakers.
The plan, first reported by the Financial Times, would mean the “digital green certificate” would replace quarantine restrictions which currently apply to intra-EU-state travel.
The Covid-19 certificate is evidence of a co-ordinated approach to reopening the bloc that tourism dependent countries such as Greece had been lobbying for.
But what does it mean for Brits planning to book European holidays this summer, will Brussels’ centralised certification system override the recent comments from individual member states’ tourism ministers trying to lure UK holidaymakers?
According to the draft text seen by the FT, individual member states would also be able to strike bilateral travel deals with non-EU countries such as the UK, but the Commission has to approve beforehand.
Brussels is set to unveil the proposal later tomorrow.
Scramble to reopen
Many governments, airlines and travel companies are investigating or launching so-called vaccine passports or covid-certificates to better store health data of passengers crossing borders in an attempt to revive an ailing tourism sector.
British Airways this week joined Ryanair, Qatar and other carriers in trialling apps which store vaccine or test info for easy access.
International travel from the UK is currently banned until at least 17 May, with departing Brits now obliged to fill out a form stating their reasons for essential travel.
The Prime Minister last month appointed Michael Gove to oversee a review into the possibility of vaccine passports.
The taskforce, which will report its findings to the PM on 12 April, has been asked to ensure “that any shorter-term changes act as a bridge to longer-term objectives on delivering vaccine certification to facilitate travel…and global standardisation of border measures”.