The European Commission will present a proposal this month on creating an EU-wide digital Covid-19 vaccination passport that may allow Europeans to travel more freely over the peak summer holiday period.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the coming legislative proposal in a speech to German conservative politicians today, providing a few more details in subsequent tweets.
The "digital green pass" would provide proof that a person has been vaccinated, results of tests for those not yet vaccinated and information on recovery for people who have contracted Covid-19.
"The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad - for work or tourism," she said.
The Digital Green Pass should facilitate Europeans' lives.— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) March 1, 2021
The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad - for work or tourism.
EU leaders agreed last week to work on vaccine certificates, for which southern countries such as Spain and Greece are pushing to unlock tourism this summer.
However, a number of countries say it will first need to be established that vaccinated people cannot transmit the virus to others.
Some countries, such as France and Belgium, also expressed concern that easing travel only for inoculated people would be unfair.
The commission said it would seek to avoid discrimination against citizens who have not received a vaccine.
EU countries agreed in January on the basic data requirements of a vaccination certificate.
A commission spokesman said the EU executive would seek to coordinate on security standards and help connect the national health systems.
The "green pass" term Ms von der Leyen used is the same employed by Israel - the world's vaccination champion - for its digital or paper document proving the bearer has been inoculated and can therefore enter sporting, entertainment and dining venues.
Meanwhile, the British government has confirmed that it will speak to the European Commission about the development of a "vaccination passport".
The UK government is looking at various proposals, under the direction of Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove.
Today, a Downing Street spokesman confirmed that British officials will discuss how such documents might work with their EU counterparts.
An EU spokesperson said: "We're of the view that in collaboration with the WHO (World Health Organisation) there should be a way to scale this up globally."
Additional reporting Sean Whelan