EU's Schinas on plans for reopening international travel
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Mr Schinas has been targeting May 17 as the earliest day to reopen air travel into the European Union to international holidaymakers. The decision follows after the UK Government announced its aim to open international travel by the same date. The move comes with the announcement of the blocs Digital Green Certificate of vaccination and testing but there are concerns the certificate will not be ready in time due to the bloc’s poor coordination during the pandemic.
Speaking to Euronews, the Vice President of the European Commission said the EU aims to open for travel on “May 17 which is the date where our British friends have announced that they will resume international travel.”
He said: “This is a notion of time which realistically we should target”
But host Efi Koutsokosta questioned the Vice President’s ambitious timeline, noting that “when it comes to coordination Europe is not doing very well.”
She said: “We’ve seen that with tracking apps because member states made individual choices, what makes you believe that this time things will go better?”
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He added: “It is a legally binding instrument so it will be grounded firmly on EU law, it’s not a recommendation.”
He insisted that “there is a growing convergence” amongst member states “on the need to have such a tool”.
The Vice President argued that “there are grounds for optimists to be ready before summer.”
Mr Schinas’s comments come despite growing chaos in Europe over the European Union’s handling of the vaccine rollout and fears the rollout of a digital certificate will be similar.
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The European Commission proposal of the digital certificate aims to enable anyone vaccinated against Covid-19 or who has tested negative or recently recovered from the virus to travel within the EU.
Information on the Digital Green Certificate could include whether travellers have been vaccinated, whether they have COVID immunity already or whether they’ve had a recent PCR test.
It is hoped a certificate will kick-start foreign travel.
The plans for the certificate are due to be discussed with EU leaders at a summit next week.
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Earlier European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen said: “What is the function of this certificate? It states whether the person has either been vaccinated or has a recent negative test or has recovered and thus has antibodies.
The EU Commission added: “Being vaccinated will not be a precondition to travel.
“All EU citizens have a fundamental right to free movement in the EU and this applies regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.
“The Digital Green Certificate will make it easier to exercise that right, also through testing and recovery certificates.”
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