TRAVEL NEWS – January 21, 2021: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging all European Union sites to support an initiative by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to agree on a common digital European COVID-19 vaccination certificate that will allow vaccinated individuals be able to travel freely within Europe without COVID -19 testing.
Combination of vaccination and testing options
As the virus eventually comes under control, testing capabilities improve and the vaccinated population grows, De Juniac stressed that governments should prepare to restore freedom of movement with well-coordinated planning. This planning should use the most effective combination of vaccination and testing options.
In an open letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and copied to key policymakers across the EU, IATA Director-General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac called on EU states to coordinate a policy that would ensure that Europe safe economic and social benefits of newfound freedom of movement, starting with those who have been vaccinated.
European recognized vaccination certificate
Prime Minister Mitsotakis' initiative urgently needs to be approved by the Commission and all Member States. Vaccination is a fundamental key to safely reopening borders and stimulating economic recovery. A pan-European mutually recognised vaccination certificate would be an important step in giving governments the confidence to open their borders safely and give passengers the confidence to fly without the barrier of quarantine,” said the Juniac.
The Greek proposal concerns a harmonized vaccination certificate that could contribute “to the restoration of mobility on a global scale, providing the basis for the return of economic activity to pre-crisis levels”. The requirement for a harmonized safe restart of aviation is more urgent than ever as we experience renewed lockdowns and travel restrictions around the world.
Save jobs and the economy
“We are in very dark days of this pandemic. But the tough measures taken in tandem with the acceleration of vaccination programs should give us hope that we can safely restore freedom of movement. That will save jobs, ease mental anxiety, reconnect families and revitalize the economy. To do this safely and efficiently, planning is essential. Prime Minister Mitsotakis' proposal for vaccine certificates will be an important factor. Test protocols allow progress to be made in eliminating or reducing quarantines. But what we need now is for governments to work together much more effectively. Unilateral government measures could quickly dismantle global connectivity. Rebuilding requires coordination," de Juniac said.
On Thursday 21 January, EU heads of state will meet and Prime Minister Mitsotakis' proposal will be on the agenda. It is hoped that they will direct the Commission to take action and develop a common certification.