Will Digital Covid Certificates bring hurdle-free holidays?
The new EU-wide Digital Covid Certificate which aims to facilitate travel for those who are vaccinated comes into force today, 1 July. But several states are still having problems issuing or checking the vaccination certificate. Commentators see further hurdles on the path back to unrestricted freedom of travel but hail the certificate as an integrating achievement.
Now the EU can prove itself
For Rzeczpospolita the certificates are the kind of thing that makes the EU what it is:
“To avoid the EU having to permanently abandon one of the main goals of integration, namely aligning prosperity in the member states, tourism must be rebuilt. The way to achieve this is the Digital Covid Certificate which comes into force on Thursday. But there is no guarantee that it will succeed. Experts warn, for example, that different approaches in EU countries may result in long queues at airports.”
A difficult but important double function
Satisfied with the efficient introduction of the digital certificate, El Periódico de Catalunya comments:
“It is thanks to good management that the document to avoid tests and quarantines is available for free, easily and in a safe way for people who are already immunised. The passport must be another tool to boost tourism, which as we know is of great importance for Spain. At the same time, it must also guarantee that those who are not immunised do not simply cross the borders. This is a basic prerequisite if we want the summer's final balance to be positive.”
Delta wreaking havoc on easing measures
Hospodářské noviny doubts that the Digital Covid Certificate can simplify travel as planned:
“The Delta mutation has taken hold in Europe, forcing governments to tighten measures that make travel more difficult. Last year it was all about having enough masks. This year, travellers have to fill out arrival forms, find out if the country they are visiting is more or less risky, look for testing stations on every corner and pay a lot of money for tests. It's better not to even try travelling outside Europe for the time being. Bans and orders change, and staying in a quarantine hotel in Africa is unlikely to be the travel experience you're looking for.”
Smothered by medieval chaos
The main impact on freedom of travel remains the nation states' unilateralism with regard to coronavirus regulations, De Morgen complains:
“Decades after the unification of Europe, we suddenly seem to have been thrown back to the Middle Ages with customs borders and rules that differ from city-state to city-state. Not only is this impractical, but even worse, it conjures up the image of arbitrary governments. It is difficult to demand that citizens trust authorities that impose quarantine on you in one country yet don't even ask for a proper test in another. ... The EU has also failed this test. The problem is that another one is coming up in September. However the consequences will not be borne by the European leaders, but by patients and nursing staff.”