Article by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the proposal of Greece for the creation of a mutually agreed, standard EU-wide digital vaccination certificate, published in English on the pan-European Euractiv website and in German on the Das Morning Briefing website……….
Kyriakos Mitsotakis referring to the pandemic notes that the restriction of freedom and prosperity is painful and without historical precedent. "The coronavirus pandemic has brought us sorrow, caused isolation and affected not only our health, but also our work, perspectives and social norms. "We made a necessary and conscious sacrifice in order to save as many lives as we can.".
He says that now that the end of this ordeal has begun to appear on the horizon, with the gradual implementation of mass vaccinations in all EU countries, we should not take this sacrifice for granted.
We owe it to the citizens to use every means at our disposal and to utilize every tool of our political and governmental arsenal so that we are fully prepared to accelerate the return to normal life in the 2021. Under no circumstances should we jeopardize jobs or lose another year, trying to restart our economies. The moment we can take action, "We must not keep our word and allow bureaucracy to lead to delays and setbacks.".
The Prime Minister points out that one of the most important tools at our disposal is to link a vaccination certificate with the movement that is unimpeded by the current restrictions., when we travel. "And we can do it at the level of the European Union," he said.
"Through the introduction throughout the EU of a commonly agreed and standardized, standard digital vaccination certificate, we will be able to open again, revitalizing tourism and leisure, and allow citizens (of Europe) to move freely and without restrictions from country to country "adds Kyriakos Mitsotakis noting that he will be in favor of such an arrangement at the European Council meeting, this week.
He then states that he understands that concerns will be raised on the issue and explains why we should move now and not later.. "Because we have to prepare for the summer, when a much larger number of citizens have been vaccinated - the experience of the Passenger Tracking Form (PLF) last summer showed us that timely planning is vital ".
"Citizens will reasonably wonder if this certificate could lead to some kind of restriction on our freedom to travel.. No, this will not happen. We should not confuse a vaccination certificate with a travel passport. Our aim is not to divide Europeans into two categories, those who have been vaccinated and those who have not been vaccinated. instead, we want to create a fast lane for travel (fast travel lane) for those who have this digital, standard certificate "clarifies Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
It also states that those who wish to travel but do not have a certificate, will be able to travel under existing travel rules, such as the mandatory molecular test (PCR) before departure, rapid test upon arrival at their destination and quarantine where necessary. "Such measures should remain at the discretion of each state and it is almost certain that they will continue within the 2021 as we move towards achieving immunity. However, "It would be complicated and economically unprofitable for such measures to be implemented by everyone.".
When asked if data protection is at stake, he replies "No.. In Greece we have already prepared the model of a digital vaccination certificate for aviation, sea and rail transport, which we shared with our partners in the EU. The certificate has a QR code, a unique document ID and a digital stamp. All the above are connected to our portal gov.gr so that everyone can check the validity of the certificate. The details are written in two languages and include the name of the holder, the social security registration number, the type of vaccine, as well as the date and location where the doses were administered. All data is digitally verifiable and encrypted within seconds. And in terms of data protection they are safe and secure. ".
"I am committed to sharing this technology and know-how with all European Member States," he added..
Then Mr.. Mitsotakis expresses hope, despite the fact that in Greece vaccination is not mandatory and the certificate will not be a prerequisite for travel, that citizens will embrace both. "I accept that many citizens who do not belong to vulnerable categories will not be vaccinated for some time. For this reason, "We will continue to use at the airports the top international intelligent control systems we have," he notes..
"At the end of the day, What a commonly agreed standard digital vaccination certificate will offer is certainty, "allowing citizens to travel free of quarantine restrictions after being vaccinated and gaining a significant degree of immunity.".
Concluding, the Prime Minister emphasizes "above all, we are not talking about a passport based on vaccination. It is not intended to limit the ability of citizens to travel. Conversely, concerns the extension of freedom of movement, with a simple, reliable and secure digital solution, which can revitalize our economies. Just to be able to carry out such collaborative ventures, the European Union was created. Together we can do it ".
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