As reported on GCT, last week Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called for the creation of an EU-wide Covid-19 vaccination certificate that will help restore safe travel that has been devastated by the pandemic.
The idea was addressed in a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
On Monday, ministers from 27 EU nations kicked off a debate regarding the idea of vaccination certificates to help reopen tourism.
Mitsotakis reiterated that his goal with this proposal is not to divide Europeans, but to standardise the vaccination certificate at a European level. He stressed that the aim of the proposal is to facilitate free movement and travel.
On his part, European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic insisted that "vaccination is voluntary."
He noted that some people cannot be inoculated for health reasons while others might simply object.
"We are taking all the precautions that we would not create any ground for different treatment of these people, or any kind of limitations of their rights," he told reporters after the videoconference.
Sefcovic said the priority now must be to gather data about the disease and its treatment on digital platforms on a Europe-wide scale.
Vaccinations have started across the 27-nation EU.
The idea will be raised again on January 21 during an EU leaders' video conference.
Meanwhile, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis reiterated that travellers wishing to visit Greece this summer will not need a travel certificate.
The proposal by Prime Minister Mitsotakis aims to activate Europe to move in one direction on this issue.
“Tests will be performed on those who have not been vaccinated, but it remains to be seen based on the decisions of the committee whether they will be performed on everyone,” said Theocharis.