Travel freely across Europe - if the Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis has his way, it should be possible after vaccination against the coronavirus. He gets support from the EU Parliament for this.
The hotels are empty, as are restaurants and museums. The corona pandemic is also a catastrophe for tourism, especially in Greece, where the industry is an essential branch of the economy. Above all, the travel restrictions and the quarantine rules put off many vacationers. A European vaccination certificate could change that, believes Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Those who are verifiably vaccinated against Coronavirus should be able to travel freely again - across Europe.
This proposal from Athens finds support in Brussels, for example, from Manfred Weber, the leader of the Christian Democrats in the European Parliament - at least when everyone has the opportunity to get a vaccination. "Today, we limit the rights of our citizens very intensely. And it is clear: if you get vaccinated and thus protect yourself and others, you can no longer restrict your rights."
Cross-border commuters could benefit from this
Like his fellow party member Mitsotakis, Weber also relies on a uniform regulation for the entire European Union to stop the fragmentation of freedom to travel so that not every country comes with its own regulations. The German Social Democrats in the European Parliament see it very similarly. New travel rules should be agreed upon across the EU, says Jens Geier, head of the European SPD. Above all, he refers to the difficult situation of cross-border commuters.
There are a lot of people who live in one country and work in another. A situation like last spring must be avoided in the future, emphasizes Geier. "We cannot allow a situation where, as happened reflexively last spring, there are controls, and people who have work to do on the other side of the border cannot cross the border because they are not vaccinated. So, that can't work. "
Special rules or not?
But should there even be special rules for people who are vaccinated against corona? And if so, which should it be? Not an easy question, thinks the FDP MEP and doctor Andreas Glück. There should not be a division of society through vaccination certificates. On the other hand, the restrictions on personal freedoms cannot be justified if there is no longer any risk of infection. "So why shouldn't the grandmother be allowed to have a visit in the old people's home if she is already under the protection of a vaccination?" Says Glück.
A difficult decision for the EU
Quite clearly: difficult discussions and decisions are facing the EU. After all, privileges for vaccinated people can work like compulsory vaccination through the back door, and many politicians want to avoid that - also in Germany. The heads of state and government of the EU must now deal with the "vaccination certificate" proposed by the Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis. There will be an opportunity to do so next week. Council President Charles Michel has scheduled another special corona summit for Thursday - as a video conference - precisely because traveling in times of pandemics is so complicated.