Spanish tourism minister Reyes Maroto and the tourism ministers of Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Malta and Slovakia have issued a joint statement calling for a rapid, united, and coordinated approach to facilitate the return of cross-border mobility, of course for tourism but also for the survival and recovery of the mainly small and medium-sized business that provide millions of jobs in the sector throughout the bloc. The statement can be read in English HERE.
Maroto said that what is needed are digital health information tools that can be interoperable between EU countries such as the vaccination certificate and which can restore mobility interrupted by the pandemic and, a paramount concern, guarantee the resumption of safe travel. She stressed that the priority must remain to speed up the whole vaccination process, including procurement and distribution, and urged the Commission to draw up a coordinated proposal to develop an ambitious programme for the recovery of EU tourism.
As it happens, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said today that a legislative proposal for a Digital Green Pass will be presented this month with the aim of providing proof that a person has been vaccinated or that they have a negative test result if they have not yet been vaccinated, and with full protection given to data, security and privacy. Von der Leyen said that the proposed Digital Green Pass should gradually allow residents in the EU to move safely within the bloc or abroad.
At this stage of just an announcement about a legislative proposal obviously details are scarce but internal sources say that the end plan will be something of an ethical minefield that will take enormous care to get right but that eventually, there will be no way to restart any general public movement without something of the kind to ensure safety. EU Council President Charles Michel, for his part, said that the public shouldn’t expect anything along these lines to be rushed and that we are looking at several months before the plans reach a more concrete stage.
Again, loud and clear for anyone who cares to hear, there are the words months, gradual, eventually … and above all, safety … .