Brussels U-turn? VDL starts vaccine passports plan – could open door to summer holidays

EU: 'Real split' over vaccine passport idea says expert

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European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said an EU certificate would be ready by June in the hope of reopening travel within the bloc. And her spokesman raised the prospect of the scheme being extended to Britons wanting to travel to the Continent this summer. Announcing the plans, Mrs von der Leyen said: “The Digital Green Pass should facilitate Europeans’ lives.

“The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad – for work or tourism.”

It was said the EU’s vaccine passport will initially be made available to citizens of the 27-state bloc.

But the Commission plans to work with the World Health Organisation to “scale this up globally” to enable foreign travellers to visit the Continent this summer.

Mrs von der Leyen’s spokesman said: “We’re of the view that in collaboration with the WHO there should be a way to scale this up globally.

“We work on a European solution now, this is where we start and then anything else would need to come after.

“We need to take this step by step. Certainly that’s not the end of the story. There are lots of different angles that will need to be tackled.”

Downing Street has said it could work with Brussels to help get Britons on summer holidays to the Continent this year.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We’ve said we are looking at the issue of vaccine passports.

“As you can expect, the Department for Transport will work and do speak to countries across the world in terms of how they may look to introduce passports. But I can’t pre-empt the outcome of that review.”

Southern states have piled pressure on Brussels today in order to secure a much-needed boost to their travel industries.

Tourism-reliant capitals, such as Greece, Spain and Portugal, have been at the centre of calls for an EU vaccine passport.

Portuguese economy minister Pedro Siza Vieria: “Tourism is very significant from the point of view of the economy, but also employment across the EU. At the same time, it has been the industry which is most impact by the restrictions we have put down on mobility and face-to-face businesses.”

He also said it was “important” for member states to send a message to the Commission on reopening the tourism industry.

Spanish tourism minister Reyes Maroto said the EU should accelerate its plans to save summer holidays and open up the possibility for Britons to travel to the bloc. 

She said: “It is important to have the tools ready to start mobility and make Europe a safe travel destination again as soon as the virus incidence data allows for this.”

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