The EU could introduce digital Covid-19 vaccine certificates before the start of the summer holiday season.
European leaders began a two-day virtual meeting to discuss the pandemic on Thursday (25 February) when they agreed to continue working on a “common approach” to vaccination certificates.
German chancellor Angela Merkel said during a post-meeting press conference: “Everyone agreed that we need a digital vaccination certificate.
“This will make travelling within the EU possible and could pave the way for further travel from third countries into the EU.”
Merkel added that it would take the European Commission around three months to complete the technical work needed to create these digital certificates.
Countries such as Greece have been spearheading the calls for an EU-wide vaccine certificate or passport, and has already created its own digital vaccination certificate. Other member states such as Denmark and Sweden have suggested they could develop similar documents as well.
But some members such as Germany and France have argued that these vaccination documents could be premature because there is currently not enough data on whether being vaccinated prevents a person from carrying or passing on the coronavirus to others.
There are also some fears that vaccine certificates could lead to discrimination against some communities.
The leaders of the EU’s 27 member states agreed that non-essential travel still needs to be restricted “for the time being”.