Green Certificates: here comes the sun?

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented the long-awaited concept for the "Digital Green Certificate" on Wednesday. The document will serve as proof of vaccination, a negative test, or recovery from Covid, and will be issued from June 1 to facilitate travel. Member states are free to decide for themselves what advantages holders will have. Europe's press views the plans with scepticism.

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El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Hope for holiday destinations

The "Green Certificate" represents the only chance for countries that are important travel destinations, explains El Periódico de Catalunya:

“For economies like Spain's, another zero year in the tourism industry would be devastating. And you can't revive the industry if citizens from both the countries of origin and the travel destination country don't feel reasonably safe. The same goes for big international gatherings like the Mobile World Congress that boost business tourism and are so important for Barcelona's restaurants, hotels and finances.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Just a short-term solution

Dagens Nyheter is not all too impressed with the Commission's plans:

“Logically, the certificates will have the greatest impact at the beginning of a vaccination project, even though fewer people will benefit. The earlier a country can be successfully vaccinated, the less need there will be for such certificates. When employers and restaurant owners start asking for such documents, new practical and moral issues will arise. If the Commission succeeds in passing relevant directives asap, the certificates could serve as an emergency solution for travel within the EU. Still: vaccination is a more effective weapon than the certificates.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Things won't go back to the way they were

Discrimination against those who have not been vaccinated can hardly be avoided, Večernji list fears:

“As we enter the digital Covid passport era, it's clear that the civil rights and freedoms that have been lost will be difficult to regain in their previous form. Just like they never returned after 9/11. ... You have to be very naive to believe the European Commission's assurances that Covid vaccination certificates will not be a pre-condition for travel. Formally, perhaps, and not at the beginning, but once they've been introduced they will most definitely lay the foundation for a division between first and second-class citizens. Those without a vaccination certificate, whether or not they belong to a risk group, can expect their problems to continue for some time to come.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Berlin will ensure equal rights

Lidové noviny wonders whether the Green Certificates will replace the "Schengen passport", and thus free movement:

“This summer could be tough. Those who have been vaccinated will be able to travel to the sea. The unvaccinated will be dependent on tests and unanswered questions, such as for how long such tests are valid. So will these people remain full-fledged Europeans? ... Nevertheless, in these uncertain times there is a glimmer of hope. In terms of vaccination progress, the Germans are no further than we are. So you can be sure that they will prevent the unvaccinated from being treated as second-class Europeans.”

Primorske novice (SI) /

Safety first, then tourism

Summer will put us all to the test again, Primorske novice suspects:

“The idea - and the introduction - of a pan-European vaccination certificate shouldn't only be about waiting in queues as little as possible when travelling to Istria or Dalmatia, but above all about preventing the virus from spreading across the continent. In this sense, the EU Commission's initiative is to be welcomed. It's also to be hoped that the warnings of potential discrimination as a result of this solution have been loudly enough expressed for them to be taken into account. The bottom line, however, is that no vaccination certificate from Brussels can help us as much as we can harm ourselves at home.”