Vaccine passports are set to be introduced to those in the UK looking to holiday this summer, EU leaders agreed last night.
“Everyone agreed that we need a digital vaccination certificate,” German chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters following a virtual EU summit.
“This will make travelling within the EU possible and could pave the way for further travel from third countries into the EU,” Merkel said, according to the Telegraph.
The vaccine passports could take up to three months for the European Commission to configure, Merkel added.
The timing, however, pulls into question the UK government’s expectation of non-essential overseas travel restarting on 17 May, as the digital documents may not be ready in time.
Pushing for passports
Greece has spearheaded the move that could revive international travel, with the Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis warning EU leaders that if they were unable to come to an agreement, the private sector will go ahead with the idea instead.
Already providing citizens with a certificate after twin vaccinations, Greece has plans to open its tourism sector in Athens from early May.
The heavily indebted EU country has also reached an agreement with Israel, which has launched a digital “Green Pass” with aims to ease travel for those with proof of vaccinations.
Spain has also pushed to establish a passport policy to blanket the EU, with foreign minister Manuel Muñiz suggesting that those who have a vaccination certificate could be exempt from taking Covid tests.
Austria and Bulgaria support a blanketed EU approach, with Denmark, Sweden and Hungary having digital passport plans in the works ahead of the agreement.